How would you describe a friend to someone who has never met them before? You might say, “She has brown hair and green eyes.” We can rely on similar color patterns to distinguish birds in the field. Since birds can fly out of sight at any second, it’s important to focus on features that can be noticed at a moment’s glance. Some birds have bold white wing bars that stand out at a distance. Others appear to be wearing glasses, or “spectacles.” Join Chris Wood and Jessie Barry as they describe how color pattern can be used to quickly identify birds in the field.

This video is part of our 4-part Inside Birding series. Each roughly 10-minute video guides you through the 4 basic keys to bird identification with clear instruction and examples. The four videos in the series are:

Inside Birding: Size & Shape
Inside Birding: Color Pattern
Inside Birding: Understanding Behavior
Inside Birding: Habitat

For more on the 4 keys of bird ID, see our Bird ID Skills pages on All About Birds.

Would you like to learn more about using color and pattern to identify more birds in your area? Bird Academy’s online courses let enthusiasts of all levels learn at their own pace. You can browse our course catalog to find the perfect online learning resource for yourself. Be a better birder today: View course catalog