What colors are hummingbirds attracted to?

With their iridescent feathers and shimmering wings, hummingbirds bring quick bursts of color into our backyards! Many of us look for brightly colored flowers and feeders when trying to attract hummingbirds. Color can help birds remember food sources, signal danger and even find a mate. But what colors are hummingbirds actually attracted to?

Seeing red

As you look for an attractive hummingbird feeder, chances are you’ll find an abundance of red, red and more red! Why do hummingbirds seem to gravitate towards this fiery color? Researchers have studied to find the answer to this tricky question.

Hummingbird vision

To understand how hummingbirds perceive color, it’s helpful to first think about the color spectrum humans are capable of seeing. Humans have three types of color cones – red, green and blue, allowing us to see all the colors of the rainbow (spectral hues). Nonspectral hues are considered colors seen outside of the rainbow. For example, we can perceive the color purple because it stimulates our red and blue color cones simultaneously.

Hummingbirds have four color cone types in their eyes, creating color possibilities that we can only dream of! Hummingbirds are able to see a variety of nonspectral colors in near UV, including UV+red, UV+green, UV+yellow and purple. And while research has shown that hummingbirds have a heightened sensitivity to the red and yellow end of the color spectrum, they’re also attracted to many more colors that humans can only imagine - so don't let that limit your feeder choices!

Expand your color palette

Now that you understand the range of hues that hummingbirds can see, don’t be afraid to try out new colors and types of feeders that will both attract the birds and beautify your backyard. There are a wide variety of bright and bold styles of hummingbird feeders in pinks, blues, purples, and even greens!

 

And don't get us wrong - red is a beautiful color that does attract hummingbirds. There’s nothing wrong with going traditional!  

 

It’s all about the nectar

More important than the color of the feeder is what’s inside of it. Be sure to reward the hummingbirds with sweet homemade nectar and soon you’ll be enjoying regular visits from your feathered friends!

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Comment on this post (2 comments)

  • Nature's Way Bird Products says...

    Hi Sue, Please reach out to our Customer Service department directly via our email (info@natureswaybirds.com) with the model # of your Nature’s Way feeder(s) and we will be happy to assist you.

    March 07, 2022

  • Sue Mulcahy says...

    I just got three new green glass hummingbird feeders and not one bird is coming to them! Did I make a mistake?

    March 07, 2022

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