Failure to attend to visual cues is a common consequence of visual cortex injury. Here, we report on a behavioural strategy whereby cross-modal (auditory-visual) training reinstates visuomotor competencies in animals rendered haemianopic by complete unilateral visual cortex ablation. The re-emergence of visual behaviours is correlated with the reinstatement of visual responsiveness in deep layer neurons of the ipsilesional superior colliculus (SC). This functional recovery is produced by training-induced alterations in descending influences from association cortex that allowed these midbrain neurons to once again transform visual cues into appropriate orientation behaviours. The findings underscore the inherent plasticity and functional breadth of phylogenetically older visuomotor circuits that can express visual capabilities thought to have been subsumed by more recently evolved brain regions. These observations suggest the need for reevaluating current concepts of functional segregation in the visual system and have important implications for strategies aimed at ameliorating trauma-induced visual deficits in humans.