What Colors Can Turkeys See?

Turkeys possess six cone cells that provide them with excellent color vision. They even detect ultraviolet light, creating an extra challenge for hunters as many washed camouflage clothing items emit residual UV light that alerts turkeys of your presence.

With their monocular, periscopic eyes, turkeys have an expansive field of view of about 270 degrees.


Red is the color turkeys associate with danger. When exposed to red hues, their pupils dilate in response to its sight allowing them to detect predators or potential threats quickly and safely. They also use this hue as a signaling method, informing other birds in their flock that there might be imminent threat nearby.

As is common with birds, turkeys possess one rod and six cone cells in their retina to enable color vision. Their vision extends from red light wavelengths up to and including almost all hues visible in visible light spectrum; however, wavelengths outside this range are beyond their capabilities.

Turkeys can detect ultraviolet (UV) light, making it easier for them to recognize potential mates and detect toxic plants. Hunters should make sure their camo clothing does not contain dyes or phosphates that could make it glow under black lights or UV detectors.

Due to their poor depth perception or 3D vision, turkeys do not possess accurate color vision. To compensate, they often bobble their heads when moving in order to gain more information from their surroundings and thus it is vitally important for hunters to remain patient when hunting turkeys.


Turkeys possess six retinal cone cells, which allow them to see colors and details quite clearly. Their vision extends to almost every hue in the visible light spectrum. Furthermore, turkeys can even detect ultraviolet (UV) light; which presents hunters with an additional challenge as even washed camouflage can emit some residual UV that alerts turkeys of your presence.

Turkeys’ eyes are situated at either side of their heads, giving them an expansive peripheral vision when turning their head sideways. Unfortunately, this monocular vision inhibits depth perception; however, this can be overcome by bobbing their heads for an improved view of their environment.

Turkeys may possess excellent daytime vision, yet their retinas cannot accommodate for night vision due to their daytime visual cortex occupying much of their space. Although they do possess some low light vision through one rod cell and six cone cells, this vision cannot detect specific colors in the dark – hence why turkey hunters must use dark clothing with camo patterns rather than bright flashlights when hunting turkeys.



Turkeys possess six cone cells in their retina that give them extensive color vision. In addition, these same cone cells enable turkeys to detect UV light. Unfortunately for hunters, even when wearing camouflage clothing such as Mossy Oak’s proven Bottomland or Obsession patterns after washing it out may emit residual UV that alerts turkeys of your presence and aids them in searching out prey and evading predators. UV vision also aids turkeys when searching for food sources or evading predators.

Green is another vital hue that turkeys need to see. Their retinal cells contain medium wavelength-sensitive cones which detect colors such as green with its wide spectrum of shades. Furthermore, this ability helps turkeys track predators more easily in order to escape them and thus provide protection.

Like other warm-blooded animals, turkeys possess one rod cell and six cone cells in their eyes, providing excellent daytime vision and color perception, but restricting night vision due to an evolutionary trade-off. Their daytime vision and color vision is sharp while night vision remains limited by monocular vision which prevents depth perception or 3D perception from reaching their brain.


Turkeys possess some of the finest color vision in all animal kingdom. Their retinas contain six types of cone cells – four single cones and two double cones – which allows them to perceive colors ranging from Yellow to Red with incredible accuracy, though greens do not tend to be noticed by turkeys.

Red is an instinctual signal for turkeys to warn other turkeys that there may be predators nearby, which causes their pupils to dilate as part of an instinctual response that alerts them that there may be danger nearby. This response serves as a signal that there may be danger.

Although turkeys possess excellent color vision, their monocular vision makes it hard for them to detect subtle movements. To limit their ability to detect movements, hunters should move as little as possible while wearing clothing with leafy patterns that camouflages against them.

Turkeys possess some of the most intricate retinas of any vertebrate animal. Their eyes contain rod cells and six types of cone cells to enable low light vision; however, unlike humans they don’t possess true night vision.


Turkeys possess six types of cone cells, which allow them to perceive an array of colors and shades within the red spectrum. Unfortunately, they do not perceive colors that lie beyond this area.

When turkeys see red, their pupils dilate rapidly as an instinctual defense mechanism to quickly identify any nearby predators that pose threats.

Turkeys are adept at tracking movements, which makes staying still when hunting them imperative. One way of doing this is selecting appropriate camouflage gear, applying sunscreen with UV absorbing properties and forgoing eyeglasses which reflect UV light.

Turkeys possess one of the most complex retinas of any vertebrate animal, enabling them to perceive more detail than humans do. Turkeys can detect things up to one mile away with eyesight three times better than those with 20/20 vision – which makes them very dangerous when hunting but gives them an immense advantage when finding food, attracting mates or evading predators. They also possess excellent hearing and smell capabilities but their olfactory lobes remain underdeveloped so it is important that always use a turkey call when calling turkeys out.


Hunters know that color plays an integral part in communicating to a gobbler when he or she is excited or alert, with retinas containing seven types of photoreceptor cells – one rod cell and six cone cells, which work to detect changes in hue. While rod cells detect light while cone cells perceive colors.

Turkeys’ highly sensitive cone cells enable them to perceive all hues within the visible spectrum and do not suffer from color blindness. Their sharp sense of motion enables them to detect motion three or four times better than humans can; with monocular vision that features additional periscopic features, turkeys can detect movements from long distances as well as being great at judging distance when moving around.

Turkeys may possess good color vision and decent night vision; however, their daytime and color vision often takes precedence over their nocturnal vision. Although turkeys possess several rod cells to see low lighting situations better than most birds (although their vision still falls far short of that of an owl which has over 1,000,000 more rod cells than cone cells!), to avoid being detected in low lighting it is wise to wear dark camo clothing and move slowly through your hunting area to prevent being detected by turkeys.


Turkeys possess one of the most complex retinas among vertebrates, including seven types of photoreceptor cells and six cones that enable them to perceive almost all shades in the visible light spectrum including ultraviolet wavelengths. Their incredible vision helps them find mates, detect predators and more!

Example: Turkeys may recognize the orange light worn by hunters when hunting; however, this does not indicate any threat to them. Any small movement could prompt their suspicion and thereby making hunting much more challenging; so patience should always be observed while hunting to reduce risk and ensure success.

Turkeys are very wary of the color red as it signals danger to them. Turkeys associate it with predators such as hawks and bobcats that possess bright red feathers as well as having an instinctual fear of red stains from blood or other bodily fluids; hunters should use camo clothing that won’t make themselves appear brightly lit in the darkness to prevent alarming their turkey prey. Also, an adjustable flashlight with variable brightness levels would be useful to minimize how much light is emitted by your flashlight to avoid scaring them off completely!

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