Can Turkeys See Color? (Really)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

While observing turkeys, you probably might have noticed that they have good vision and are not affected by colors like some other birds.

Can turkeys see colors? Yes, turkeys can see colors. Turkeys have very good visions and can see colors even more than humans do.

Turkeys can see colors even in shades, and can distinguish between shades of the same color.

This is because turkeys have a retina with 7 different types of photoreceptors while humans have retinas with only 4 different types of photoreceptors.

It is even said that “one of a gobbler’s single come photoreceptors has a special sensitivity to wavelengths near 400nm which is in the ultraviolet light range”.

This calls for caution when hunting turkeys in the afternoon.

Do turkeys have good eyesight?

can turkeys see color

Yes, turkeys have very good eyesight even better than humans.

Turkeys have the ability to see more than clearly during the day and pick up on what humans might even miss.

It is said that their daytime vision is 3 times better than that of humans.

Having eyes on the sides of their heads gives them the advantage of a broader view.

Turkeys have a visual field of about 270 degrees and a slight rotation of their head gives them a 360 degrees field view.

This is amazing, compared to a human’s 180 degrees visual feed.

Turkeys also have the ability to detect motion far away.

This helps them to sense danger quickly, before it reaches them and run for safety.

Related: Here is a comprehensive guide on how to raise turkeys

Can turkeys see red color?

Yes, turkeys can see the red color.

Turkeys have excellent daytime vision.

They can all the colors that humans see and even more, so they definitely can see the red color.

Turkeys most probably see the way you see at night, so if you are wondering if you can use the red light to make your way around the forest undetected while hunting them, don’t.

They’ll see it and it will spook them.

The only way they wouldn’t notice the red light you carry is if they are sleeping already.

And you can’t be sure of that. If you are going to use the red light at all, use it limitedly so you don’t wake them and try to be as quiet as possible.

What does turkey vision look like?

Turkeys have what is called monocular periscopic vision.

They have situated in the opposite sides of their heads, this means their eyes are used separately and they can see two objects at once.

This kind of vision gives them a broader field view but less depth perception.

Humans have binocular vision which means both of their eyes can focus on the same object at the same time giving them great perception.

Turkeys can’t do this but they make up for this loss by rotating their heads slightly which can make them see everything around them up to 360 degrees.

This monocular vision helps them to see where they are going and also watch out for predators since they have peripheral vision.

Are turkeys color blind?

No, turkeys are not color blind.

Turkeys have excellent vision and can see more colors than humans can.

They can even see UV light that human eyes can’t detect.

Do turkeys see well at night?

No, turkeys cannot see well at night.

They have very poor night vision which makes it ideal for turkey hunters to hunt them at night.

With minimal noise and light, you can catch these birds unawares.

However, turkeys have an advantage over humans in the night because of their ability to see UV light which humans can’t see.

Most of the camouflage clothes you wear to hunt them are UV brightened.

This means they glow at night. You won’t see your cloth glow but a turkey that spots you will see it and run the other way.

They will know a predator is in sight.

A cloth that is UV brightened will appear bluish to a turkey.

You can however overcome this challenge by washing your camo clothes with UV dampeners or killers.

And after that, avoid washing your camo clothes with UV brighteners.


Turkeys can see colors and have good daytime vision, even more than humans.

About three times more.

Because of their monocular vision, they can use their eyes separately to see two objects at once, which gives them a broader field view but less depth perception.

They can see the red color since they have color vision.

They can the color at nigh too, so you should be careful about using red light when hunting them at night.

Turkeys cannot see well at night.

This is why they sleep on trees during the night.

This helps them to stay protected from predators.

They can however see UV light in your camo clothes.

This why you should wash your clothes with UV light which and try as much as possible to be quiet while hunting them at night, since they have good hearing.


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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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