Why Are Hummingbird Feeders Red? Understanding Hummingbird Preferences

Why Are Hummingbird Feeders Red

You cannot have hummingbirds in your home as a pet since they are delicate, and the stress and limited food can kill them. 

You can still be around hummingbirds by planting flowers and installing feeders on your property to attract them.

There are numerous brands and designs of hummingbird feeders in the market today. You must have noticed that most hummingbird feeders are red, and you are curious to know why this is so. Let us look more profound in the matter to understand the need for this color;

Why Are Hummingbird Feeders Red?

First of all, hummingbirds’ eyes have a high concentration of cones and are very sensitive to bright colors like red. Having a red feeder will therefore catch the attention and attract any hummingbirds flying around. 

Hummingbirds like nectars that have about 20% sugar levels. These levels are typical in red flowers out in the wild thus, a hummingbird associate’s red with the perfect meal. For this reason, manufacturers make feeders red.

How To Make Hummingbird Food At Home

It takes more than a brightly colored feeder to attract and keep hummingbirds coming back to your home. 

You need to feel the feeders with sweet and high-quality sugar water to keep the birds coming back.

Hummingbirds have a good memory, and they will remember which spots had good food and which ones did not.

Making your solution is cheap and easy. All you need is some water and high-quality refined sugar that has no molasses. 

Red dye or food colors are not necessary, and at times they could affect the birds’ health. You should also avoid artificial sweeteners or honey since they are not part of the hummingbird’s natural diet. 

Here is a detailed guide on how to make artificial nectar for hummingbirds

  1. Combine 1 part sugar with four parts water in whichever amount you need depending on the number of feeders present. This ratio closely replicates the sucrose level of wildflowers, and it will work best for hummingbirds. 
  2. Heat the mixture while stirring continuously until all the sugar is dissolved and you see bubbles. 
  3. Remove the solution from the heat and allow it to cool entirely on its own before putting it in a feeder.
  4. You can store some extra nectar in the fridge for up to one week before you have to throw it out.
  5. This nectar can ferment and breed mold and bacteria, which start infections. To prevent this, you need to empty the feeder and clean it as regularly as you can. Cleaning is even more crucial when multiple birds are sharing a feeder.

Ensure you keep the solution out of direct sunlight since the heat increases the rate of fermentation. 

The solution will become thicker over time, and it won’t attract any birds. To prevent this, ensure you refill the feeder with a new solution regularly.

Selecting The Best Hummingbird Feeder

You can get some hummingbird migration maps and see that they are coming to your area and you want them at your home. 

The best way to get them there is to have hummingbird feeders installed before the birds arrive.

When it comes to feeders, you need to make a good choice; otherwise, you will keep wasting the nectar without getting birds. 

There are many different models to pick from, and here are some factors you should consider before settling on a product.

1. Design

The design is the most crucial part when it comes to selecting a feeder. Hummingbirds are adapted to feeding on tubular flowers; thus, you need to get a feeder that replicates that. 

There are feeders with added shapes to look like flowers making for a more natural feeding spot. The nectar line when your feeder is filled should be separated from the food port. 

This separation is necessary to deal with the expansion and contraction of the nectar inside the feeder to prevent spilling out over the top. 

The outer side of the food port should also be raised to prevent spillovers. This feature will prevent hornets and ants from tasting and infesting the feeder.

Ants live in colonies, and once they taste the nectar, they will take over the feeder and become a problem for the birds.

Having a feeder that has mechanisms to keep away ants will be helpful for you. The ports should accommodate more than one species of hummingbirds to increase the variety in your yard.

2. Material

Feeders are hanged outside, and they will inevitably make contact with a lot of weather and sunlight.

The hummingbirds themselves chase each other, and the feeder could fall if not installed correctly.

Choose a feeder that is made of high-quality material that can withstand the work for years. The most common and high-quality choice is polycarbonate plastic. 

This type of plastic is durable to UV rays and impact; thus, it will serve you for a long time. If the holder is firm, you can use a glass feeder or have an installed fountain. 

There are numerous choices, and you can even make your feeder at home to save money. Make sure you mount the feeder at a secure spot to reduce the risk of damage. 

3. Color

Hummingbirds don’t have a sense of smell, so they depend entirely on their eyesight to find flowers to feed on. 

You need to take advantage of this and select a feeder with colors that will attract hummingbirds from a distance.

The best color for a hummingbird feeder is red or yellow. Hummingbirds are drawn to such bright colors more than they are to other colors. 

Having bright-colored feeders will make for more birds; hence you will have a better bird watching experience. 

4. Size and Number

Hummingbirds consume a lot of nectar to keep their bodies working efficiently. You need to have a feeder that can sustain many birds for a whole day or more. 

The feeder should have several feeding ports to sustain the birds. Hummingbirds are fiercely territorial about their feeding places. 

You must have noticed that they constantly fight and chase each other away from the feeders that they use. To prevent these conflicts, you should have more than one feeder. 

Buy three or four feeders and place some space between them. By allowing space, you will be creating territories for the birds; thus, one bird can only feed at one spot and leave the other feeders for more birds. 

The 4 Most Beautiful Hummingbirds 

After installing your feeders and making good nectar, all you have to do is wait. There are over 300 species of hummingbirds, and they all stand out in their way. Some species are outstandingly beautiful and a treat to look at;

1. Green hermit

The green hermit is one of the bigger species with a body length of 5.3 inches with males having shorter tails than females. 

This bird’s body has a perfect blend of blue, green, black, and shades of brown that make it an unforgettable sighting. 

The males get prettier when they wiggle their tails to lure females during mating seasons. You will find them since they are spread around South America and parts of North America.

2. The Long-Tailed Sylph

The males have a five-inch tail that is striking to look at. This tail is what females use to choose mates; thus, the longer a tail, the higher the chances of mating. 

The males showcase a stunning green and blue coloring with a concentration of green on their backs and tail. 

3. White-Crowned Hummingbird

As suggested by the name, this species stands out because of the white patch males have on their heads. 

Females don’t have this color, and they are more bronze-green than the males. They are, however, difficult to find since they stay in the Central American forests.

4. Purple- Crowned Wood Nymph

This species is found from Guatemala to Northern Colombia and Venezuela. The adult male has a violet upper back, crown, belly, and shoulders. 

It has a shiny green breast and throat along with the lower back. Their tails are blue and deeply forked.

This combination of colors makes them a marvel to look at in the wet lowlands and wood hills they thrive in. They feed on nectar, small insects, and spiders as their primary source of protein.


Hummingbird feeders are red to help with attracting the birds. The nectar composition of red flowers is the best for hummingbirds, and their eyes are sensitive to bright colors; thus, red works well in attracting them.

A viable sugar substitute is a plant-based sweetener. Some manufacturers have made plant-based sweeteners that will work well to give the birds all the nutrition they need.

These sweeteners could be a better choice since sugar has a lot of empty calories. Hummingbirds are beautiful, and you will enjoy having them around. 

Ensure you have multiple feeders to attract more birds and prevent fights among them. Get a well-designed and high-quality feeder that can last for several seasons without needing replacement.