Can birds see infrared?

Having the ability to see in infrared would be an excellent trait for birds to have. They’d be better able to spot predators before they suddenly pounce on them and they’d be able to find bugs and insects to eat. Seeing in infrared is something that some animals can do, so can birds see infrared? This article looks into it

Birds have great eyesight but their eyesight isn’t evolved enough to be able to see infrared light, just like humans, and other mammals, birds are not able to see infrared. Creatures that have evolved to be able to see infrared include frogs, fish, snakes, bedbugs and mosquitoes.

Can birds see infrared?

The eyes of birds have evolved to be able to see the four colour cones, humans can only see three colour cones. Birds also have more rods than we do and because of this, they can see more light than us. However, like humans, their eyes haven’t evolved to perceive infrared light like other creatures.

Infrared light is invisible to birds because, as warm-blood animals, their bodies produce heat. Thus only cold-blooded animals and some insects can see infrared light.  The following are a few of the creatures with the remarkable ability to see infrared:

  • Snakes
  • Fish
  • Frogs
  • Blood-sucking insects (mosquito, bedbugs)

What colour is most attractive to birds?

Birds, in general, have powerful vision and can see more colours than humans. Studies have even shown that these creatures are in a way obsessed with colours. If you are a bird lover and would like to draw a host of birds to your backyard, colour can help you. Using the right colours in your yard will not only attract birds to your feeder; it would also beautify the area.

Colour is essential to birds as it helps them read the things in their environment and understand the times:

  • Birds can tell a flower is filled with nectar by its colour
  • Birds can also tell a fruit is ripe and good for food by its colour
  • When the colour of foliage starts to change, some bird species know that it’s time to migrate

The following colors are the best for attracting certain bird species:

  • Red is the best colour for attracting hummingbirds
  • Blue is the best colour for attracting bluebirds, jays
  • Yellow is the best colour for attracting hummingbirds, goldfinches, warblers
  • Orange is the best colour for attracting orioles and hummingbirds
  • Earth tone colours are ideal for attracting bird species that feed from the ground

What colours are birds afraid of?

While colour is an excellent tool for attracting birds to your yard, you must use only the right colours. Some colours send the wrong message to birds and scare them off. If you own a bird feeder and would like to bring birds to your yard, you should never use the colour white. The colour white signals danger to birds, so they avoid places with that colour. You should also not wear any white clothing when trying to feed birds.

Do birds see at night?

Birds are either diurnal or nocturnal. Diurnal birds are daylight creatures. These birds are active only during the day and spend the night time sleeping. These birds generally cannot see at night all that well, the light of the moon helps them see but only barely. However, that’s not to say some diurnal birds cannot see during the night. Their vision is only poorer in the dark.

On the other hand, nocturnal birds move around searching for food during the night and spend the daytime sleeping. These birds can see very well during the night and usually their eyesight is better at night.

What does bird vision look like?

Birds are tetrachromats and can see four colours – red, green, blue, and ultraviolet. Humans are trichromats, meaning we can only see three colours – red, green, and blue.

Additionally, most birds have eyes on the sides of their head, this allows them to have a much wider field of vision than humans. In other words, these creatures can see what’s in front of them and also see a long way to their sides. Amazingly, their sideways vision allows them to see what’s behind them as well.


In conclusion, yes birds have excellent eyesight but they aren’t able to see infrared, in fact, many animals can’t see infrared. Animals that can see infrared are animals like snakes, replies, mosquitoes and bedbugs to name a few.

Bright colours like red, blue, yellow and orange will attract birds while white signals danger to birds. They can see better than humans in terms of the colour spectrum the range of vision.

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other bird related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: how to relocate a birds nest with babies, can birds eat grits, what to do with unhatched eggs, can birds eat uncooked grits

Can birds see infrared?
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