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Birds With Blue Eyes: A Rare Sight

birds with blue eyes, white ibis

Species of birds with blue eyes are scarce, so rare in fact that when I scoured the net to find information on birds with blue eyes, I could only find three!

It turns out that blue eyes in animals are a rarity. The three birds I did find are the blue-eyes ground doves, satin bowerbird and the white ibis.

Read on to find out more about these three unique birds.

Blue-eyed Ground Dove

blue-eyed ground dove
Hector Bottai, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The blue-eyed ground dove is a stunningly beautiful bird that has only recently been rediscovered. With a population estimated at just 50 – 249 birds, it is one of the rarest birds in Brazil. The bird is native to the Cerrado region of Brazil and is known for its striking blue eyes and blue wing spots.

Deforestation and habitat loss threaten the bird’s habitat, contributing to its critically endangered status. Conservation efforts are underway to protect the bird’s habitat and increase its population.

Satin Bowerbird

satin bowerbird
Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The male satin bowerbird has striking glossy blue-black plumage, a pale bluish-white bill, and a violet-blue iris. The female satin bowerbird is less striking in appearance, with olive-brown plumage and a brown iris.

The satin bowerbird is a species of bowerbird that is native to eastern and south-eastern Australia. It is considered one of the most intelligent birds found in nature. The male satin bowerbirds are known for their elaborate courtship displays and unique behaviour, where it constructs and decorates a bower to attract a mate.

The bower is constructed using twigs and sticks and decorated with various objects, including flowers, berries, and even human-made objects like bottle caps and pens. The male Satin Bowerbird will spend hours arranging and rearranging the things in the bower, creating an elaborate display for the female.

White Ibis

eyed birds, white ibis

The white ibis is one of Florida’s most common wading birds. Its beautiful sky-blue eyes are its most striking feature. The bare skin around their blue eyes is also reddish pink. Juveniles are brown above and white below with streaky brown necks.

The white ibis is a medium-sized bird with a long, curved bill. It is primarily white with black wingtips that are visible when in flight. Its legs are long and pink, and it has webbed feet that help it navigate through shallow water.

They find food by foraging in shallow water and probing the mud with their long bill to find insects, small fish, and crustaceans.

Why Are Blue Eyes So Rare in the Animal Kingdom?

Blue eyes are relatively rare in the animal kingdom because the blue colouration is caused by a combination of factors that are not always present in animals.

Usually, blue eyes in animals are caused by the scattering of light by the eye’s iris, which is a structural colouration rather than a pigment-based colouration. This means that the blue colour is not produced by a specific pigment but rather by the way the light is reflected and scattered by the surface of the iris.

The genes that control the colour of the eyes are complex and involve multiple genetic factors. The presence of specific genes can lead to the production of pigments that result in brown, green, or yellow eyes, but these genes do not always produce blue eyes.

Blue eyes are often a result of certain health conditions in animals, such as albinism or genetic disorders. These conditions can affect the body’s production or distribution of pigments, resulting in blue eyes, but these conditions are extremely rare.

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