Best Colors To Paint Birdbaths (With photos & examples!)


Painting your bird bath may seem like an easy task, but we often have the simplest of questions: What is the best color to paint a bird bath?” I was also wondering the exact same thing and wanted to find out, so I hit up a few forums and other more experienced backyard birders for answers. Here’s what I found:

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.

There is no hard and fast rule as to which color is the absolute best, but there are definitely benefits in knowing which bird you want to attract first before selecting the color of choice. I will be taking you through the selection process so 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 simply 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, some birds may be attracted to colors that are similar to their food sources. For example, hummingbirds love the colors red and pink because they look like the plants that they get their nectar from: like beebalms (monarda)!

What Color Should A Birdbath Be?

To make things easy, I summarized the best colors for attracting different bird species in the table below for your reference:

Bird Bath ColorBird Species AttractedReasonAmazon Link
Red and pinkHummingbirdsHummingbirds are attracted to red and pink, which look like their food sources (beebalms, petunias)Link (red)
Link (pink)
OrangeOrioles (Baltimore, bullock’s, Altamira)Orioles are attracted to their own plumage color: orangeLink
BlueBluejays, bluebirdsBluejays and bluebirds are attracted to their own plumage color: blueLink
YellowGoldfinches, warblers, hummingbirdsGoldfinches are attracted 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, alarm, or aggression

RECOMMENDED: Milo Acrylic Paint Set of 8 Colors (8oz/227g each)

Okay, if you want to paint your birdbath with multiple colors and not just stick with one, consider purchasing an acrylic paint set! That way, you’ll have a more colorful combination for your birdbath!

I picked this as a recommendation because there’s enough paint of each type so you can mix them up to form other colors. Also, the amount in each bottle is substantial for painting a birdbath. Here’s the link to it on Amazon!

Your bird bath might just look as beautiful as this!

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

Not just any paint will stick on well to any material. So I wrote a little section on this in another article I wrote here!

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! Actually, you may be surprised that birds have better vision than us humans do!

Human cone cells | Source

Human retinas have 3 kinds of cells in our eye called cone cells that receive red, blue, and green light, which makes us trichromatic. Birds have 4 cone cells that can perceive red, blue, green, and ultraviolet light, which makes them tetrachromatic.

On top of seeing UV light, they can actually have a higher visual acuity than humans. This means that birds can differentiate subtle differences between two very similar-looking colors. This ability can perhaps help birds spot camouflaged prey, or simply to spot other food sources more easily from the foliage.

European Starlings have a wider visual range than humans | Source

Given that birds can perceive such small differences in color, it’s no wonder that 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.

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? Yes, there are!

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.

I wrote a complete starter guide of safe paints you can use to color your birdbath. It includes a really handy table, so please go check it out so you don’t make any crucial mistakes along the way!

It includes other information about which sealant to use and making it waterproof too!

OH! By the way, if you’d like to learn how to paint your birdhouses safely, I wrote a complete guide for it! Check out the safe paint for birdhouses article here.

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 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.

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.

Will Birds Use A White Bird Bath?

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 of 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

Okay so you now 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, saw some interesting 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!

Justin

Justin is a hobbyist birder that hopes to share his birding knowledge with the world. His favorite bird is the Large-tailed Nightjar and he really loves potato chips!

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