Last Updated on August 10, 2023

The avid birdwatcher can dress in pretty much any type of clothing and still be able to sight some birds, however, choosing the right birdwatching clothing can help the birder to sight birds more easily.

So exactly what should you wear when you’re out birding? This can vary and will depend on to habitat and season, in addition to the type of birds you are attempting to sight. The fact that some birds are on high alert at all times, you’ll need to dress carefully in certain cases.

However, a birding wardrobe doesn’t need to cost a fortunate, so before you run out and buy several outfits for your next birding adventure, read on to find out what type of clothes the pros recommend. We will also explain how to choose your outfit based on the birds you want to sight, your environment, and current weather conditions.

What to Wear

The clothing you choose to wear when you’re out birding should be very comfortable. Comfortable clothing will allow you to stay in the field longer and not move around quite as much. These types of non-restrictive clothing should be made out of lightweight fabric. You should also dress in layers which will allow you to remove a layer depending on changing temperatures throughout the day.

Functional clothing is also a must. Cargo pants that come equipped with a variety of pockets that can hold your field guides, notebooks, and other birdwatching equipment will be important and convenient. Additionally, the shoes that you wear should have excellent ankle support, already be broken in, and they should come equipped with adequate tread depending on the type of terrain you will be covering.

Man holding binocularsIf you’re an experienced birder, then you already know that the coloring of your clothing should blend into the habitat. This means wearing subdued colors such as gray, brown, green, and black. You’ll want to avoid wearing bright-colored clothing at all costs, especially orange or white. White is a color you’ll definitely want to steer clear of since many birds are accustomed to seeing white as a danger warning. Always choose colors that will match the specific habitat your birding in, such as light brown and shades of green for birding in rural areas. However, if you’re trying to sight some hummingbirds, then you’ll want to wear bright colors such as pink, red, and orange since this can help to attract this species

The Sound of Silence

Did you know that birds have exceptional hearing? Because of this, regardless of the type of clothing you’re wearing they’re going to know you’re there. However, at the same time, you’ll want to avoid clothing that makes a lot of noise such as nylon or corduroy. Choosing the right fabrics can help to minimize the amount of noise you make and will allow you to get closer to bird you’re trying to sight. When you’re shopping around for shoes, make sure that they don’t squeak or jingle. You’ll also want to avoid any clothing that has a lot of buckles and zippers which can jingle when you’re walking.


As I mentioned earlier, the habitat you’re birding in will also have an impact on the type of clothing you wear. Long pants and long sleeve shirts will come in handy for blocking out bright sunlight while also discouraging insect bites. Waterproof clothing, especially footwear, will be the best choice in wetland environments. If you’re birding in the winter, then you’ll want to wear thermal clothing. Lightweight fabrics that promote air circulation will be the best choice for tropical or summer birding.

Other Birding Wardrobe Tips

  • Wherever you bird always make sure that you’re wearing a hat that will shield your eyes and break up the outline of your face and head for improved camouflage around birds that are on high alert.
  • Never choose clothes that reflect UV rays. A bird can see UV light and will react to this reflection.
  • Never go out in clothes that you want to keep clean. When you’re birding be prepared to get dirty.
  • Avoid wearing brand-new shoes especially if you’re hiking out to your destination spot. You want to avoid shoes that will cause chafing and blistering.
  • Try to avoid wearing clothing That’s heavy or restrictive.

The Right Gear

Of course, your birding ensemble will not be complete unless you have the best budget spotting scope, such as the Roxant Authentic Blackbird High Definition Spotting Scope. However, the type of gear you bring along whether it’s binoculars or a spotting scope, should meet your skill level and should not be too heavy. The weight of the bird watching gear should be dependent on how far out you have to hike. Of course, purchasing a carrying case or bag can help to take the load off. Make sure that the gear you bring with you whether it’s a spotting scope or a pair of binoculars, is designed for the type of birding you have in mind. As an example, if you’re trying to sight owls or other types of birds of prey that fly at a higher elevation then you’ll want to use a spotting scope as opposed to binoculars.

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to spend a fortune to find the right wardrobe for your next birding adventure. Just choose subtle colors, such as greens, browns, and grays, and wear clothing that’s weather and environment appropriate.

There are many different options available in terms of bird-watching clothing. Just remember, the type of quality clothing you choose should depend on weather conditions, the type of habitat you’re going to be birding in, and even the type of species you’re trying to sight. Additionally, you should always wear a hat to further camouflage yourself from birds that are on high alert, and wear clothing that doesn’t make a lot of noise. All of the information here will help to further improve your comfort, which will allow you to stay in the field longer. However, it will also increase your chances of sighting that rare bird.