What Bird Lays Green Eggs? A Guide to Nature’s Easter Eggs

Have you ever wondered what bird lays green eggs? If you have, you are not alone. Many people are curious about the colorful and mysterious eggs that some birds produce. Green eggs are not just a fictional creation of Dr. Seuss, but a real phenomenon that occurs in nature.

In this article, we will explore what causes green eggs, which birds lay them, how to identify them, and why they are important for birds. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about green eggs and provide some tips and tricks on how to find and enjoy them. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding and appreciation of nature’s Easter eggs.

What Causes Green Eggs?

The color of bird eggs is determined by two main factors: pigments and genetics. Pigments are substances that give color to the eggshell, while genetics are the inherited traits that influence how the pigments are produced and deposited.


The most common pigment that causes green eggs is biliverdin, which is a greenish-blue pigment that is formed in the liver as a by-product of breaking down red blood cells. Biliverdin is then transported to the oviduct, where the eggshell is formed. During this process, biliverdin is deposited on the outer layer of the eggshell, giving it a green hue.

Biliverdin is not the only pigment that can affect the color of bird eggs. Other pigments include protoporphyrin, which gives a brown or reddish color, and oocyanin, which gives a blue color. Sometimes, these pigments can mix or overlap, creating different shades and patterns of colors.

The amount and distribution of pigments on the eggshell are influenced by genetics, which determine how much pigment is produced and how it is applied. Different genes can affect the intensity, uniformity, and variation of the color. For example, some genes can cause spots or speckles on the eggshell, while others can cause blotches or streaks.

The color of bird eggs can also be affected by environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, diet, stress, and age. These factors can alter the chemical composition or physical structure of the eggshell, making it more or less receptive to pigments. For example, high temperatures can cause the eggshell to become thinner and more transparent, allowing more light to pass through and reveal the underlying color.

Why Do Birds Lay Green Eggs?

You might be wondering why birds lay green eggs in the first place. What are the benefits of having such a conspicuous color? Well, there are several possible reasons why birds lay green eggs, depending on their ecology and evolution.


One reason why birds lay green eggs is protection. Green eggs can help camouflage the eggs from predators by blending in with the surrounding vegetation or nest material. This can reduce the risk of predation and increase the chances of survival for the offspring.

Another reason why birds lay green eggs is mimicry. Mimicry is when one species copies or resembles another species to gain an advantage. Some birds lay green eggs to mimic other birds that lay green eggs, especially those that are more aggressive or have better defenses. This can deter predators from attacking or stealing the eggs by making them think that they belong to a more dangerous or unpalatable species.

A third reason why birds lay green eggs is signaling. Signaling is when one individual communicates information to another individual using signals or cues. Some birds lay green eggs to signal their quality or fitness to their mates or rivals. For example, some studies have suggested that biliverdin acts as a natural sunscreen and antioxidant for the developing embryo, protecting it from harmful UV rays and oxidative stress. This could indicate that the mother bird has a good immune system and can produce healthy offspring. Therefore, laying green eggs could be a way of advertising her attractiveness or suitability as a mate or parent.

These are some of the possible reasons why birds lay green eggs. However, it is important to note that not all birds lay green eggs for the same reason or benefit from them equally. The color of bird eggs is influenced by many factors and can vary depending on the species, population, location, and situation. Therefore, it is difficult to generalize or draw conclusions about why birds lay green eggs without considering their specific context and history.

Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.