Best Paint Colors For Birdbaths: A Starter Guide

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You have your bird bath ready, but you think it looks boring – it needs some paint!

But wait, what colors should you paint it?

Don’t worry; I searched forums and found a definitive answer:

Any bright or primary colors are the best colors to paint bird baths. These colors include red and pink to attract hummingbirds, orange to attract orioles, blue to attract bluejays, and yellow to attract goldfinches. Drab camouflage colors like green can attract skittish birds. However, white scares birds away.

Though there is no hard and fast rule as to which bird bath colors are best.

Read on to find out more!

Different Colors To Attract Different Birds

“The best way to attract birds to your home is to think like a bird”

Margaret Brittingham, Associate Professor of Wildlife Resources

No, I’m not telling you to be a bird brain!

I’m telling you to put yourselves in their shoes (or feathers)!

By thinking like birds, we can attract them.

Let me explain why: Birds tend to be attracted to their own natural plumage! For example, a bluejay would be attracted to a bird bath painted in blue!

Although this may not always be the case.

While some birds are drawn to their own plumage color, others may be attracted to colors similar to their food sources.

For example, hummingbirds love red and pink because they look like the plants they get their nectar from: like beebalms (monarda)!

What Color Should A Birdbath Be?

Here’s a summary table of how colors attract certain bird species:

Bird Bath ColorBirds AttractedReasonLink to Paint
Red and pinkHummingbirdsRed and pink look like their food sources (beebalms, petunias)Link (red)
Link (pink)
OrangeOrioles (Baltimore, bullock’s, Altamira)Attracted to their plumage color: orangeLink
BlueBlue jays, bluebirdsAttracted to their own plumage color: blueLink
YellowGoldfinches, warblers, hummingbirdsAttracted to their own plumage color: yellowLink
Camouflage colors (brown, green, grey)Skittish species (thrushes, ground feeders, doves)Camouflaged patterns help skittish bird species feel safeLink (green)
WhiteNONEBirds interpret white as danger or aggression

Nocturnal birds won’t mind any colors, so no worries about that.

The psychology behind this is that birds that have a bright plumage will indicate to others that it is a mature, healthy bird.

Acrylic paint is suitable and safe for use on the insides of the water basin on your bird bath, as well as the other parts of the bird bath.

Recommended Acrylic Paint: Blickrylic Student Acrylics Basic Color Set, 6 bottles, 16oz

Blickrylic Student Acrylics - Basic Color Set, Pack of 6, Pints (In carry carton)

This particular set comes in a pack of 6 bottles at 16 oz each with lots of bright colors like Blue, Chrome Yellow, Fire Red, Phthalo Green, Mars Black, and Titanium White.

With all the primary colors included, it’s great for attracting bluebirds, goldfinches, cardinals, and many other birds!

What I like the most about it is that it’s no-frills and really affordable!

Your bird bath might just look as beautiful as this!

Before you purchase your desired color of paint, you’ll also need to consider the material of the bird bath you’re painting on.

Make sure you select non-toxic paint and follow the right process.

How Birds See Color

Now that you know which colors you can use to paint your bird bath, you may be curious as to how birds see color!

You may be surprised that birds have better vision than we humans do!

Let’s begin a quick science lesson.

Human cone cells | Source

Human retinas have three kinds of cells in our eye called cone cells that receive red, blue, and green light, which makes us trichromatic.

Birds have four cone cells that can perceive red, blue, green, and ultraviolet light, which makes them tetrachromatic.

On top of seeing UV light, they have higher visual acuity than humans, even outside the visible spectrum of light.

This means that birds can differentiate subtle differences between two very similar-looking colors.

This ability can perhaps help birds spot camouflaged prey, or spot other food sources more easily from the foliage.

European Starlings have a wider visual range than humans | Source

Since birds can perceive such small differences in color, it’s no wonder birds are particular about which bird bath they want to bathe in!

Does The Color Of A Birdbath Matter?

The color of a birdbath does matter. Birdbaths with brighter and primary colors can attract more birds as they can see it from far away. Birds are generally attracted to birdbaths with the same plumage as them. However, white-colored birdbaths scare birds away as they commonly associate it with danger.

In fact, a bird feeder should also have an appropriate color because this can mimic their natural feeding places like yellow flowers or red flowers.

Brightly-colored bird baths and bird feeders will attract brightly colored birds to your yard

What Kind of Paint Should You Use To Paint Bird Baths?

So now you know the right colors to paint your birdbath! But… there’s a question that still lingers.

What kinds of paint can you actually use? Are there any safe paints you can use?

Here’s the answer:

Oil-based, latex, or acrylic exterior paint is safe for painting birdbaths. Latex and acrylic paints are safe for use on the insides of the basin once they are dried up, but not oil-based paint. Oil-based paint is suitable for use on other parts of the birdbath. All paint must be dry before applying a new coat.

After painting, you’ll need to seal it with non-toxic concrete sealers to waterproof it.

If you don’t, the birds may drink up all the paint, which may not be healthy for them.

If you want to paint birdhouses safely, make sure you follow this guide to paint birdhouses.

What Color Should The Bottom Of A Bird Bath Be?

The bottom basin of a bird bath should be of a light color to spot dirt build-up more easily in the long term. Examples of common colors of bird bath basins include beige, grey, and light green. However, do not use black-colored bird bath basins as it makes it hard to spot dirt.

Do also make sure that you clean and change bird bath water often.

Do Bright Colors Scare Birds?

Bright colors do not scare birds. Instead, birds are attracted to bright colors because they are similar to the bright colors of flowers. Bright colors like red, pink, orange, and yellow can be attractive to birds if it is the same color as their plumage. However, birds tend to be scared of the color white.

As such, bird feeders and bird baths tend not to be bright in color, as they are bad at attracting birds.

What Color Bird Bath Attracts The Most Birds?

Bird baths that have bright and primary colors attract the most birds. Birds are easily attracted to bright-colored bird baths because they either resemble their plumage color or the bright colors of flowers they frequent. White-colored bird baths attract the least birds because it scares them away.

I noticed that red attracts hummingbirds the most, and blue attracts bluejays the most.

Will Birds Use A White Bird Bath?

Many birds are unlikely to use a white bird bath. Birds perceive white as a color of threat and will be scared away by it.

Ideas For Painting Bird Baths

If you’re already rearing to go paint your bird bath, hold on a minute!

I did some digging on Pinterest for you for some paint inspiration! Let me share with you some interesting paint ideas for beautifully colored bird baths to start with.

I categorized them by their color for your easy reference!

Red Paint

Blue Paint

Yellow Paint

Brown/Orange Paint

Multi-Colored Paint

Creative Paint

Final Thoughts

Congrats – now you know all the best colors you can use to paint your bird bath and which color attracts which type of bird species!

You also learned a little about how bird color vision works, and looked at some exciting paint ideas, and safe paints you can use.

I hope that this article has been used and that you’ve learned a thing or two from reading this!

Thanks for reading, and happy birding!

My Recommended Birding Resources:

Hey there, Justin here!

Here’s a list of all my favorite resources, products, and brands I trust and love.

My Celestron Nature DX 8×42 Binoculars: It’s a great budget pair for beginner birders. Highly valued for its price! Read my review.

Safe Paint for Bird Baths Guide: Learn about non-toxic paint for painting bird baths.

Safe Sealers for Bird Baths Guide: Learn which sealers are safe for bird baths.

Safe Paint for Bird Feeders Guide: Learn what special care needs to be taken to paint bird feeders with the right paint.

Safe Paint for Birdhouses Guide: Learn about non-toxic paint for painting birdhouses. (Not the same as bird baths!)

Bird Identification Apps Guide: 2 of my favorite birding apps are Merlin Bird ID, and eBird Mobile! Merlin is great for tracking and identifying birds, and eBird Mobile is great for tracking the birds sighted when birding.

Check out my resources page for the full list of resources I recommend!

Justin Chia

Justin is the founder and author of Birding Outdoors. He is a Nanyang Technological University (NTU) alumnus with a Bachelor of Biological Sciences and a former data analyst.

Now, Justin runs the Birding Outdoors blog full-time, hoping to share his deep love for birds, birding, and nature with others.

To unwind, Justin enjoys gaming and reading.

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