Water birds, no matter what colour they are on top, are often white underneath, so that when a predator looks up, the bird looks like part of the sky.
Some birds feature bright colours. This helps to attract attention when it is looking for a mate. Colour can alsohelp to hide the bird making it harder to see serving to reduce predation. For example grey birds such as pigeons are often rock-living birds.
Why do you think all adult penguins are countershaded – that is – dark on the back upper side and white on the underside?
Compare the camouflage colouring of the kakapo, kiwi and yellow-eyed penguin:
With mottled moss-green feathers, camouflage is the bird’s main form of defence.
This worked well when the kakapos’ main enemies were the giant eagle and other birds that hunted by sight but now introduced predators can smell them.
Kiwi are masters of camouflage which is a reason why they are more often heard than seen.
Their plumage blends in perfectly with the bush.
All adult penguins are countershaded - dark on the back upper side and white on the underside.
The dark side blends in with the dark ocean depths when viewed from above.
The light side blends in with the lighter surface of the sea when viewed from below. A predator looking up from below such as an orca or a leopard seal has difficulty distinguishing between a white penguin belly and the reflective water surface.
Brown yellow-eyed penguin chicks are also camouflaged – blending well into the vegetation.