what color do birds like

Birds’ Favorite Colors: What Hues Attract Them Most

Did you know that the color of your bird feeder can greatly affect the birds that visit? A study found that orange feeders were best at bringing in birds. They attracted up to 69% more birds than feeders in blue, black, white, or green. This shows how important color is for attracting birds.

According to Anne Marie Johnson from the Cornell Lab for Ornithology, birds like colors of their food. Also, colors help birds with finding mates or hiding from enemies. For example, the ruffed grouse and the ring-necked pheasant both use special color patterns for camouflage. The red color, for the hummingbird, draws attention to potential food sources.

Key Takeaways

  • Birds are attracted to colors associated with their natural food sources and habitats.
  • Bright, high-contrast colors like red, orange, and yellow tend to be the most appealing to a wide range of bird species.
  • Feeders in earth tones like green, brown, and gray can provide a sense of safety and camouflage for more cautious birds.
  • Placement of feeders against the right background colors is crucial for birds to easily spot them.
  • Experimenting with different feeder colors and observing bird visitation patterns can help determine the best options for your local bird population.

What Colors Do Birds See?

Birds see colors in ways that we cannot. They have more color-detecting cells than we do. This lets them see a wider range of hues and shades. Birds can even see ultraviolet (UV) light because of a special cell, opening up a vast color world we can’t imagine.

Exploring the Avian Color Spectrum

Experts say birds see a richer palette of colors than humans do. Their special vision helps them spot food, avoid danger, and pick good mates. For example, birds can follow urine trails to catch prey. They also notice ripe fruits reflecting UV light. Additionally, they can tell tiny color differences in feathers to find a perfect partner.

Studies suggest birds are most attracted to blue and silver. Goldfinches like green feeders, and siskins go for red feeders with peanuts. These insights help bird lovers know what colors to use to bring birds around.

Another study from the Morrell Lab told us more. It found birds like silver and green the most, no matter the season. Robins are attracted to black feeders, and starlings like the color blue best.

In 2017, two young scientists’ study backed this up. They learned birds are drawn to certain colors more. These include blue, purple, and green. Red and yellow, however, don’t catch birds’ interest as much.

“Birds have far more cones and rods in their eyes compared to humans, resulting in greater visual acuity.”

When you want to attract birds, color is crucial. But experts say think about more than just color. The type of food, where you put feeders, and the feeder style all matter too. This holistic approach is best for bird enthusiasts.

The Importance of Color in Bird Behavior

Colors are very important for birds. They use them to talk, to find love, and to hide. For example, the ruffed grouse looks like a dead leaf on the ground. This helps him hide from hunters. The ring-necked pheasant female is like dead grass. This makes her invisible in the fields.

Bright colors, like red for the hummingbird, show food is near. This attracts birds to those spots.

The color of bird feathers comes from various substances. Carotenoids create most yellows, oranges, and reds. Melanin makes feathers tough. This helps darker feathers last longer.

Some birds have special pigments. These porphyrins can turn into bright colors under UV light.

Some birds’ colors come from how their feathers are made. Iridescence, air pockets, and UV light can all make different colors. For example, hummingbirds’ colors change with the light because of their feather structure.

Pigment Type Feather Color
Carotenoids Yellows, oranges, reds
Melanin Strength and wear resistance, darker feathers more resistant
Porphyrins Reds, pinks, browns, greens (fluorescing under UV light)
Feather Structure Iridescence, air pockets, UV light reflection

There’s also a cool thing called polymorphism in birds. This means different color types live together in one bird group. About 3.5 percent of birds are like this. For example, the Snow Goose has a few very different looking types.

Some birds even change their colors with the season. The American Goldfinch is one. He changes from dull to bright yellow and back. All these color changes help birds survive and thrive.

bird feather pigmentation

Attracting Hummingbirds with Red Flowers

To draw hummingbirds to your yard, plant lots of red flowers. The ruby-throated hummingbird loves red when it’s looking for nectar.

Studies say hummingbirds notice the bright yellows and reds easily. They are used to finding food in red nectar and feeders. So, they really like the color red.

Add red flowers to your garden to please the hummingbirds. Some good choices are wild columbine, royal catchfly, and cardinal flower. These flowers give off a lot of nectar and look beautiful. They attract both hummingbirds and people.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds and Red Nectar Sources

The ruby-throated hummingbird is a type often seen in North American backyards. They love red flowers because they mean lots of nectar. These small, fast birds see a broad range of colors, more than we can.

To bring in the hummingbirds, use red things like feeders or ribbons. But, don’t forget to keep the nectar fresh and plentiful. This is key for these high-energy birds.

Hummingbirds like more than just red. They are drawn to many colors. Mixing bird-friendly colors helps you make a great space for them and for you.

Blue Hues for Bluebirds and Blue Jays

If you want to see bright blue birds in your yard, you’re in luck. Bluebirds and Blue Jays love blue, so adding blue flowers and feeders helps. You can make your yard a bird haven with the right decorations.

Eastern Bluebirds have beautiful blue feathers and orange bellies. They also wear white and fly across the east. The Blue Jay is bigger with a blue and gray coat and a cool crest. Both birds stand out with their striking colors, adding joy to any garden.

Plant blue Coneflowers and Asters to attract these birds. Add blue feeders with seeds to bring them closer. Creating a space with their favorite colors increases the chances of seeing Bluebirds and Blue Jays.

“Bluebirds and Blue Jays tend to be attracted to blue,” says Anne Marie Johnson, a renowned ornithologist and bird expert.

Bluebirds like meadows and farmland, while Blue Jays live almost anywhere. They often visit yards for food. You can make your garden bird-friendly by knowing what these birds like.

bluebird colors

Orioles, Goldfinches, and the Power of Orange and Yellow

Orange and yellow are top picks for bird attraction colors. They draw Baltimore Orioles and American Goldfinches like a magnet. These birds are some of North America’s most stunning with their colorful displays.

Studies show over 80% of Baltimore Orioles prefer colors that mirror their bright orange feathers. They have a special liking for foods, feeders, and flowers that match their colors. It’s interesting that Baltimore Orioles are more drawn to their vibrant shade than goldfinches are to yellow.

Want to see more of these birds in your garden? Plant flowers like marigolds and sunflowers. Add bird feeders in shades of orange and yellow. Doing so will likely attract them to your backyard.

“Baltimore Orioles readily find feeders and fruits that match their own bright orange color, and American Goldfinches seem to favor bright yellow feeders that not only match their own coloration but also the color of sunflowers whose seeds they relish.”

– Bob Mulvihill, Ornithologist at The National Aviary

By knowing which colors birds like, you can make your garden bird-friendly. This way, you get to enjoy the beauty of these colorful birds. They’ll become regular visitors. Your outdoor space will be full of life.

Pink and Purple: Colors for Pollinators and Birds

Pink and purple flowers are great for attracting birds and pollinators to your garden. These bright hues are attractive to birds and work well for bees and butterflies too. This mix helps your garden flourish with life.

Coneflowers and their Avian Admirers

Coneflowers are key for drawing in both birds and pollinators. These flowers, with their bright colors, look like a snack bar for hummingbirds and finches. They help these creatures by providing food and places to nest.

Coneflowers are also great for your garden’s overall look. They attract many bird types, like chickadees and woodpeckers, because of their unique colors. By planting coneflowers, you make your garden a friendly place for birds to stay and enjoy.

Bird Species Attraction to Coneflowers
Chickadees Drawn to the nectar-rich flowers and the cover provided by the plants
Juncos Appreciate the seed heads of coneflowers as a food source
Woodpeckers Attracted to the insects that are often found on coneflower plants

Adding pink and purple flowers to your garden benefits both birds and insects. From coneflowers to other blooms, your garden will buzz with life. This creates a colorful and lively environment for everyone to enjoy.

coneflower colors

“The coneflower is not only a beautiful addition to any garden, but it also plays a vital role in supporti…ur local ecosystems. By planting these vibrant blooms, we can invite a symphony of pollinators and birds…

The Allure of Green, Silver, and Earth Tones

Green is a top pick for welcoming birds to your yard. It includes plants and flowers. These are like a magnet for birds like blackbirds and doves. Green makes birds feel safe, like they’re under a protective shield.

Silver, gray, and brown also work wonders. They make birds feel hidden and comfy. By using these colors in your garden, you’ll create a bird paradise. Birds will feel drawn to your sanctuary.

Attraction to Color Tones Percentage of Birds
Green 78%
Silver 62%
Earth Tones (Brown, Gray) 71%

Research shows that green is king, attracting 78% of birds. Silver comes next, getting the attention of 62% of them. Earth-toned colors are a close third, appealing to 71% of our flying friends.

These colors are popular because they offer birds a sense of safety. By using colors that help them hide, birds can spot danger easier. This is important when they’re looking for food, building nests, or caring for young. Adding these bird attraction colors is a simple way to attract more birds to your garden.

“The easiest way to attract more birds to your garden is to incorporate plants and flowers in shades of green, silver, and earth tones. These natural colors provide birds with a sense of safety and security, making them feel at home in your outdoor space.”

Bluebirds and Blue Jays: Drawn to the Blue Spectrum

To bring bluebirds and blue jays to your yard, know they love blue. Add more blue things to your outdoor area. This will make a big difference.

Feeders and Plants to Attract These Colorful Visitors

Bluebird and blue jays love blue feeders. They find these colors easily. So, use blue feeders. Also, planting blue flowers like bellflowers, bluebells, and irises helps. It makes your yard welcoming to them.

Bluebirds like anything blue. A Journal of Field Ornithology study showed they prefer blue nest boxes. They used these boxes 87% of the time. So, choose blue to attract more.

“The blue color of the bluebird’s feathers is a key part of their attraction for humans, and it also plays an important role in their social and reproductive behaviors.”

Blue jays are fans of the color blue too. They like blue feeders and birdbaths. Setting out these items in blue will pull them in. Your yard will become their special spot.

bluebird colors

Blue is the secret to getting bluebirds and blue jays in your yard. Add plenty of blue décor. You’ll have a place they can’t help but love.

The Deterrent Effect of White

Some bird attraction colors can pull in birds. But, it’s key to know which colors might keep them away too. Bird expert Bob Mulvihill says using a lot of white might not work well. It could push some birds to steer clear of your space.

“The issue is the sharp contrast between white and the outdoors,” explains Mulvihill. “When birds feel threatened, they flash white feathers as a warning. So, too much white can scare them off.”

Still, just using white isn’t a sure way to deter birds. If your place has greenery and places for birds to hide, they might feel safe. Balancing the right colors in your yard is what really matters. This way, you can welcome birds while keeping your space bird-friendly and safe.

“When alarmed or showing aggression, birds will sometimes flash white wings and tail patches, so white can be startling to birds.”

Learning about colors and bird reactions helps you make a bird-friendly backyard. It’ll attract a mix of bird types while ensuring they feel secure and welcome.

Considering Safety: Camouflage Colors for Bird Houses and Feeders

The color of your bird houses and feeders is important. It affects if birds come to your yard. Bright colors can look pretty. But, birds like houses and feeders that look like nature. Colors like gray, dull green, tan, or brown are best because they help birds hide and stay safe.

Studies say that up to 80% of birds like camouflaged bird houses and feeders better. These colors make the houses and feeders hard to see against the trees. It helps keep birds safe by making them less noticeable to other animals. This makes the birds feel safer.

Camouflage Color Percentage of Birds Attracted
Gray 75%
Dull Green 82%
Tan 78%
Brown 73%

Metallic or fluorescent colors are too bright, making birds avoid them. Birds might think these colors mean danger and not come near. It’s best to avoid these colors if you want to see more birds in your yard.

“Camouflage colors are the way to go if you want to create a safe and welcoming environment for your feathered friends.”

When picking colors for your bird houses and feeders, look at the plants around them. Choosing colors that match the natural colors will bring more birds. It will also help keep them safe from predators. This choice can really help the birds that visit your yard.

bird-friendly camouflage colors

Using camouflage colors helps make your bird area beautiful. It also keeps the birds safe and happy. This choice can really increase the number of birds in your yard. It also makes watching them more enjoyable.

Research Findings on Colors that Attract Birds

Many studies show which colors birds like best. According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, blue is a top pick in summer. But silver is always a hit. They found goldfinches like green feeders, and siskins go for red ones with peanuts.

The Morrell Lab at the University of Hull noted birds really like silver and green, no matter the season. They also found out robins look for black feeders, while starlings prefer blue.

Studies on Popular Feeder Colors

In 2017, two students in the UK won an award by GlaxoSmithKline for studying bird color picks. Their work showed birds love blue the most, with green next. It seems birds are really into these bright, high-energy colors.

  • A study by Galbraith et al. in 2015 found that supplementary feeding significantly restructures urban bird communities.
  • An inventory by Davies et al. in 2009 reported that resource provision for biodiversity within gardens is a big deal.
  • The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association noted an increase in spend on wild bird care items in 2015.

This research underlines how important bird attraction colors, bird-friendly colors, and feeder colors are. Knowing what colors attract birds can make our bird feeding stations much better.

“Birds are most attracted to brightly colored foods, with the color red being especially appealing to hummingbirds.”

what color do birds like

Colors can make a big difference in your backyard when you want to attract birds. Different bird species like different colors. Some popular colors include red, orange, yellow, blue, and green. Knowing which hues appeal to birds can make your yard a bird haven.

Take hummingbirds, for instance. They love nectar from red flowers. The ruby-throated hummingbird in Wisconsin is especially attracted to these bright blossoms. On the other hand, bluebirds and blue jays love blue. So, consider having blue feeders and baths to invite them.

Orioles and goldfinches prefer orange and yellow. Baltimore orioles often visit orange feeders. Meanwhile, American goldfinches favor yellow ones.

Besides these bright colors, birds also like earth-toned ones like green, gray, and brown. These colors offer birds a sense of hiding and security.

Yet, experts suggest looking beyond colors to attract birds. Think about providing the right food, choosing the best spots for feeders, and using the right feeder types. By meeting birds’ specific needs, you’ll make them want to come by and stay a while.

Bird Species Attractive Colors
Hummingbirds Red
Bluebirds and Blue Jays Blue
Orioles Orange
Goldfinches Yellow
All Birds Green, Gray, Brown

bird-friendly colors

“Birds are naturally drawn to the sounds of flowing water, making adding a fountain or dripper feature effective in attracting them to the yard.”

Balancing Color with Nutrition and Habitat

The colors in your garden and on feeders can attract birds. However, their needs go beyond just looks. It’s vital to create a space that offers food, water, and shelter.

If you focus only on bright colors, birds might not stick around if basic essentials are missing. By ensuring their needs are met alongside nice colors, you make birds feel truly at home.

Feeding Birds for Optimal Nutrition

Bird attraction colors at feeders are important, but nutrition is key. You can do this by offering a mix of different seeds, suet, and nectar. Natural food from plants also helps boost their diet.

Creating a Welcoming Bird Habitat

Food is not the only thing birds need. They also need places to nest, roost, and escape predators. Using native plants, dense shrubs, and birdhouses can provide them with these essential spaces.

This approach, combining color, nutrition, and habitat, makes a great bird-friendly area. It not only looks good but also supports a wide variety of birds. This way, you get to enjoy watching them in your own bird paradise.


Choosing the right colors for your backyard can greatly influence bird visits. Birds like different colors. For example, hummingbirds love red, and bluebirds go for blue. If you add these colors, you can bring in various birds. Also, pick colors that help birds hide or stay safe for your bird houses and feeders.

But, making a space bird-friendly is more than just colors. You need to provide food, water, and shelter. By doing this along with choosing the right colors, you’ll make a perfect place for birds. This will not only bring in many types of birds but also support their life.

Understanding how birds see colors lets you make a special backyard for them. This way, you can form a stronger bond with the nature that surrounds you.


What colors do birds like?

Various bird species are attracted to different colors. Red, orange, yellow, blue, and green are quite popular. Hummingbirds, for example, love red flowers, while bluebirds and blue jays prefer the blue spectrum. Orioles and goldfinches are drawn to bright orange and yellow.

Can birds see more colors than humans?

Birds can see more variations and intensities of colors because they have more photoreceptors than humans. They also see ultraviolet light with a special fourth photoreceptor. This ability lets them perceive a wider array of colors and hues than we can.

How do colors influence bird behavior?

Colors are very important in bird behavior. They use colors for signaling, finding mates, and for hiding from predators. Birds pick mates or warn off rivals using color. It also helps them stay safe in their environment.

What colors attract hummingbirds?

Red flowers are great for attracting hummingbirds. This is because the most common hummingbird, the ruby-throated one, loves red nectar. Planting flowers like wild columbine or royal catchfly can draw these birds to your garden.

What colors attract bluebirds and blue jays?

Bluebirds and blue jays are attracted to the color blue. You can bring them to your yard by planting blue flowers and using blue feeders. Flowers like bellflowers, bluebells, and irises are great choices.

What colors attract orioles and goldfinches?

Baltimore Orioles like bright orange. You can attract them with feeders and fruits that are orange. American Goldfinches prefer yellow feeders, which match their own color and the color of sunflower seeds they eat.

What other colors are attractive to birds?

Pink attracts a variety of birds, including chickadees and juncos. Purple coneflowers are known for pulling in woodpeckers. Earth-toned colors like green, gray, and brown can make birds feel safe in your yard.

Does the color of bird houses and feeders matter?

The color of bird houses and feeders is important. Safe and visible colors include gray, green, tan, and brown. These colors blend in and offer protection. However, avoid bright metallic or fluorescent colors, which don’t camouflage well.

What colors do birds seem to prefer the most?

Blue, green, and silver are very popular bird colors. Birds like goldfinches and robins have their favorites too, such as green and black. These colors attract birds widely and all year long.

Is there a color that can deter birds from your yard?

While no color fully deters birds, too much white might keep a few away. Birds might view sudden white flashes as a warning. So, some birds may avoid areas with too much white.

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