Is it a bird or a bunny? The internet can’t decide

Rachel Grumman Bender
Beauty and Style Editor

The internet loves a good optical illusion, whether it’s the famous dress (is it black and blue or gold and white?) or the sneakers (mint and grey or pink and white?).

Now the latest internet head-scratcher has gone viral: Is it a bird or a bunny?

The debate started with a video posted to Imgur by user Horseonabike. In the video, which has garnered more than 96,000 views, someone is scratching what appears to be the head of either a bird or a bunny. This was followed by a Twitter post on Aug. 17, with the caption, “I think there's something wrong with your rabbit.”

Twitter user and scientist Dan Quintana shared that post, and then it really started taking off, receiving over 12,000 retweets and more than 47,000 likes.

Twitter was completely torn as to what, exactly, they were looking at. Is that a beak or bunny ears?

Some are saying it’s a white necked raven:

One user noticed that the creature has what’s called a nictitating membrane — a thin, third eyelid that glides across the eye:

While it’s cool to learn a new word that is sure to impress people at parties, both rabbits and ravens have them so that didn’t appear to help narrow it down.

However, one eagle-eyed (raven-eyed?) Twitter user noticed the direction that the nictitating membrane sweeps across the eye:

While the debate rages on, most Twitter users are convinced this is a crow or raven and not a bunny (and if so, who knew ravens liked their heads scratched so much?):

The optical illusion is reminiscent of a famous duck-rabbit illustration: When you look at the drawing one way, you can see a duck’s beak. Look at it another way and you’ll see rabbit ears. The drawing triggers the “Gestalt switch,” in which the brain flips back and forth between two different perspectives — which may explain what’s happening when people look at the now viral bird-bunny video.

Michael Marmor, an ophthalmologist at Stanford Byer’s Eye Institute, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the bird-bunny video and the duck-rabbit drawing are “remarkably alike.”

Referring to the viral video, Marmor tells Yahoo Lifestyle: “This is a very neat, ambiguous figure, enhanced beautifully by a modern video. But in essence, it is simply a picture of a raven positioned so that its open beak resembles the ears of a rabbit.”

Marmor adds: “There is no special magic, for we all misjudge the cues of similar objects, especially in poor light or at a distance.”

Do you see a bird or a bunny?

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