Why are tropical birds so colourful?

Bird species across the world use colour and decoration to attract a mate and the males of most species, from peacocks to pigeons, are more brightly coloured than the females. However, predation is just as vital a factor as courtship in influencing the colour of tropical birds.

Being able to hide from predators is one of the most effective survival techniques, so birds often have feather colours that blend in with their surroundings. In the bright canopies of tropical rainforests, greens and yellows provide better camouflage than browns and greys, so brightly coloured birds are hard to see. Nearer to the forest floor, the bird species often have much less elaborate colouring, sticking to the darker browns of the undergrowth.