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do parrots hate or like colors?

What Colors Do Parrots Like (And Dislike)?

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Vision is a survival-critical sense that enables parrots to see and interpret different colors.

Parrots have excellent color vision because they’re tetrachromatic, meaning their eyes have 4 color photoreceptors. Parrots can see all 3 primary colors and ultraviolet light.

While a parrot’s reactions to colors reveal its preferences, most birds prefer muted and pastel shades. Ideally, these are at the mid-to-high end of the spectrum (shades of blue, green, and brown).

Bright, intense colors, like brilliant white, can make a parrot feel apprehensive.

Red, orange, and yellow are warning colors. This means that a parrot is likely to become afraid, especially when exposed to these colors for an extended period (cage items, wall colors.)

Parrots can somewhat learn to tolerate colors they initially dislike through exposure training. Avoid forcing a parrot to live in an environment with bright red, orange, or yellow walls and objects.

What Colors Parrots Can See

The ability to process colors through eyesight is broken into 4 distinct categories based on the conical photoreceptors in the eyes.

Each photoreceptor enables the eyes to process a different primary color, which is blended to comprehend tens of thousands of color combinations.

MonochromacyAn animal has one photoreceptor and can process just one primary color. Most aquatic mammals are monochromatic.
DichromacyTwo photoreceptors process two primary colors. Many mammals, other than primates and humans, are dichromatic.
TrichromacyThe eyes can determine all three primary colors through three photoreceptors. Humans have a complete visual range, and most primates have trichromatic vision.
TetrachromacyFour photoreceptors enable the eyes to process all primary colors plus ultraviolet light. Birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects are tetrachromatic and have superior color vision to mammals.

As per PLoS One, the human eye can detect some ultraviolet light, around 300 nanometers (nm.) After this, the retina protects the human eye from seeing anything more detailed to prevent vision damage.

According to the Proceedings of Biological Sciences, parrots with tetrachromatic eyesight can detect UV light up to 426 nm. This enables them to determine subtle color changes, sharpening their vision.

A free-flying parrot can spot a snake that would otherwise blend into tall grass or detect movement from small prey that may not be observed by monochromatic, dichromatic, or trichromatic vision.

Trichromatic sight enables parrots to identify qualities in feathers that are invisible to a human’s naked eye. Trichromatic vision can also determine the sex of monomorphic parrots.

Colors Parrots Hate vs. Like

Pet parrots enjoy a range of colors in their environment because it provides stimulation. Leaving a parrot in a dull, monochromatic location will likely lead to boredom and frustration.

A parrot is likely to exhibit strong reactions to particular colors. Some shades are a parrot’s favorite, while others cause irritation or anxiety.

Observe a bird’s body language closely to discover how it reacts to specific colors.

You may find that parrots fed a multi-colored pellet mix will pick out specific colors and leave others. In extreme cases, a parrot may grow visibly distressed when confronted by particular colors.

what colors attract parrots?

Colors That Attract Parrots

Parrots have such intense vision that they react poorly to bright colors. This can trigger an automatic startle response, causing the bird to respond defensively.

The color spectrum is divided into 7 primary shades. These are as follows:

  • Red.
  • Yellow.
  • Orange.
  • Green.
  • Blue.
  • Indigo.
  • Violet.

Most parrots are happiest when surrounded by muted, pastel colors from the middle of the spectrum. Earthy tones are also popular, with mild green, blue, and brown hues preferred.

One explanation for these preferences is the prevalence of blue and green feathered parrot species.

While parrots boast a variety of colors and markings, including red, which is often a feared and reviled color among psittacines, they gravitate toward similar-looking birds.

Blue, green, and brown remind captive parrots of their wild habitat.

Gentle shades of blue resemble the sky, while many parrots feed from the ground, plucking seeds, flowers, nuts, and plants from green fields.

Brown reminds parrots of the trees they nest and roost.

Use natural shades to ensure a parrot remains comfortable. Introducing bright and garish hues like turquoise or aquamarine may make a parrot agitated or afraid.

What Colors Parrots Dislike

Parrots have long memories, so an adverse and prolonged reaction to a specific color could be associated with positive or negative past experiences.

For example, if a parrot grows agitated when you wear a green shirt, it may have been mistreated by somebody who regularly wore this color.

No matter how many positive interactions you attempt, you may find a parrot dislikes some colors.

Red And Orange

According to Frontiers in Psychology, the subconscious deems red a dominant color.

Red is the universal color of impending danger in the wild. This means red toys, food/water bowls, walls, and decor around the cage should be avoided.

The journal Nature claims this is an innate fear that most birds are born with, as opposed to a learned aversion developed through life experience.

Parrots can become fixated upon and afraid of bright and intense shades of red and orange. Some birds also react adversely to deep pink, but blush shades are likelier to be tolerated.


Yellow is the most visible color in the spectrum. Unsurprisingly, many owners have observed that parrots find shades of yellow and gold irritating.

No formal research has been conducted on why this may be, but one theory is that bright yellow hues produce a visual intensity that can overwhelm a parrot.

what colors do parrots dislike?

Bright White

If a parrot dislikes color, you may think it best to house it in a room with plain, white walls. However, continued exposure to brilliant white can agitate a parrot and hurt its eyes.

Use a matte finish rather than anything too glossy. Also, hang pictures or apply other decorations to the walls so the lack of variation isn’t excessive. These will give a parrot’s eyes other areas of focus.

Because parrots have colorful feathers, being surrounded by white may also make them feel unsafe. Bright feather colors and unique markings stand out against a white backdrop.

Overcoming Color Phobia in Parrots

You may find that some colors and shades generate a particularly visceral reaction. While not exposing a parrot to colors they fear is preferable, this isn’t always possible.

While it’s unlikely that you’ll ever teach a parrot to love bright and intense colors, especially those in the red spectrum, you can help it tolerate them better.

Introduce fear-inducing colors to a parrot minimally. If red is the problem, paint a small red dot on a familiar and trusted object, or give them food like a bright red strawberry because it tastes good.

Avoid placing bright red items not considered indispensable in the cage. Also, avoid orange and red feature walls (paint or wallpaper) in the parrot’s room.