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Bird Tattoos Meaning, Symbolism, and Design Inspiration

by TattoosNear 23 Sep 2022

Bird Tattoos Meaning, Symbolism, and Design Inspiration 

Jealousy. Yes, I believe that envy is what drives so many people to obsess with birds. After all, who doesn't dream of flying? They can fly. When asked what superhuman ability they wish to possess, most individuals will say flight.

The closest you'll ever come to having feathers is getting a bird tattoo on your arm. Although you won't be able to fly like a superhero, it's still immaculate. But what does it mean?

Bird Tattoo Meaning

Birds can represent spirituality, higher learning, or communication with other realities or universes.

It stands for freedom—freedom of the mind, freedom of the body, freedom of the spirit, and freedom of choice.

A bird's ability to flit from the ground to the sky links us to the planet and the entire universe.

A bird represents autonomy, self-sufficiency, the strength of self-direction, and self-actualization.

Perspective: The capacity to rise above worldly concerns and see the bigger picture while remaining impartial and removed from minor issues.

Capability is lightness, buoyancy, agility, facility, and the capacity to overcome difficulties.

Fearlessness. A bird typically symbolizes audacious, unyielding bravery to throw oneself into the unknown, unless it's a flightless ostrich with its head in the sand.

A bird's message to you as your spirit guide is to learn more, accomplish more, and be more by daring to go higher and further than you are.

Related Knowledge: Want to know what tattoo designs look good on you? Temporary tattoos 🔗 are appealing because it lets you try out body art without the permanent commitment. It is also a fun way to change your appearance or experiment with different placements before taking the plunge and getting inked for real. This is an excellent choice for anyone thinking about getting a tattoo but wants to see how it would look first, or for someone who cannot get inked for whatever reason, including pain tolerance or health problems. The temporary tattoo is also cheap, easy to apply, and lets you express yourself without hassle. Choose from a wide range of symbolic designs or something simple or cute. The choice is yours, so have fun with it. 

The Meanings Behind Various Bird Tattoo Designs

Goldfinch, canary, or other yellow bird

Yellow birds typically stand for joy and abundance. Yellow songbirds have historically been kept as pets because they can brighten any space and add to the enjoyment of their singing. Uncaged or not, a yellow bird may stand for happiness and cheer. As an early warning system, coal miners used to bring canaries down into the mines with them. If the air became so toxic that the bird perished, the miners would know they needed to leave.

Bluejay or Bluebird

Bluebirds have been linked to joy for years and in many cultures. The blue jay is an extremely intelligent corvid related to crows and ravens. Since the Shang period (1766–1122 BC) in China, bluebirds have been a part of folklore and mythology. They are also common in Native American, Russian, German, and other cultures.

Numerous poems and songs also mention bluebirds: In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy asks, "If cheerful little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why oh why can't I?" and Cole Porter sings, "Be like the bluebird who never is blue, for he knows from his upbringing what singing can accomplish." Read "Blue Jay Tattoo Meanings & Designs" for more information and to see more examples.

Crow or Blackbird

Crows, ravens and other black birds are frequently used as scapegoats for bad behavior. People tend to associate darkness with undesirable qualities simply because they cannot see in the dark.

Crows are frequently shown as having the ability to fly between this world and the hereafter, carrying messages. Crows are said to communicate with spirits in many cultures. Blackbirds are emblems of magic, mystery, and the afterlife. Crows are very creative and intelligent birds that have even been known to create and use tools. Crows frequently appear as cunning tricksters in stories and folklore. (Read on to learn more about ravens!)

Chicken (Rooster or Hen)

Roosters are brave little birds that rule the barnyard, strutting around with their feathers all puffed up and crowing incessantly to wake everyone up. Chickens are highly territorial and aggressive. They follow a rigorous pecking order throughout the flock. Hens are fruitful and loving mothers who meticulously sit on eggs and care for their young. Hens are symbolic of fertility, kinship, motherhood, and maternal instincts.


Cranes are mainly symbolic and significant in China and Japan, where they are thought to bring luck and happy marriage (which is why they are sometimes tucked into wedding kimonos). In the past, it was believed that if you folded 1000 origami cranes, your desire would come true. Now, origami cranes are frequently given to those who are going through a difficult period and wish for their well-being.

Dove (or White Bird)

Doves frequently stand for harmony and love. They are commonly referenced in the Bible and occasionally used as illustrations of god's love. In addition, when Noah sends a dove out after the flood to investigate if there is land, and the bird returns carrying an olive branch in its mouth, it is a hopeful sign that the floods are subsiding.

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Doves were also connected to Venus, the Roman goddess of love, and Asherah, the Canaanite mother goddess. Doves are symbolic of innocence, grace, and beauty. Read "Dove Tattoo Designs, Ideas, and Meanings" to learn more and see more examples.


Although the eagle is a relatively manly bird, wearing one isn't limited to men. It has deep-set, nearly omniscient eagle eyes and is muscular, strong, and agile. A substantial golden eagle that worked for the Greek god Zeus. Due to its royal power and virility, the bald eagle was chosen as the United States national bird in 1782.

Many Native American tribes regard eagles as sacred creatures that stand for bravery, fortitude, and foresight, and they employ their feathers in rituals. A person with "eagle eyes" is wise and has an extended field of vision.

Hawk or Falcon

The strength and majesty of predatory birds like eagles, hawks, and falcons are often admired. They are also recognized for their superb hunting abilities, clever predatory minds, and uncompromising attention to a single job (like obtaining prey) over an extended period. They can spot a mouse in a field in the distance and swoop down on it from a great height, thanks to their extraordinary vision.

Falconry has been practiced for approximately 4,000 years and was formerly known as "the sport of kings": A falconer will train a wild falcon, hawk, or eagle for years until it can hunt and bring back live prey to the falconer. In his poem "A Second Coming," W. B. Yeats alludes to a falcon in a well-known way:

Spinning continuously in the expanding gyre, the falconer cannot be heard by the falcon; Things disintegrate; the center cannot support; The world has descended into pure disorder; a blood-dimmed tidal has broken, and chaos reigns everywhere. The innocence ceremony is submerged; The worst is intensely passionate, while the best lack all conviction.


The tiny hummingbird, which stands for quickness, vigor, and energy, can fly at a speed of 49 mph and flap its wings up to 70 times per second. It can be challenging to see, yet it moves so quickly that its wings buzz. In the Caribbean, which is referred to as the "country of the hummingbirds," it is especially revered. It is also the national bird of Jamaica, and it is shown in its currency.

Hummingbird totems were believed to bestow wearers with vitality and energy by the ancient Aztecs. A hummingbird can also stand in for the idea that small things can have a significant impact because of how much power it packs into their tiny body. Read "Hummingbird Tattoo Designs, Ideas, and Meanings" for more information and to view more examples.


Owls stand for knowledge, wisdom, and truth. Even though they have exceptional night vision, it may be their vast eyes that give them the appearance of omniscience. Many civilizations revered owls as spiritual advisors and representatives of the afterlife. Athena, the goddess of wisdom in Greek mythology, was frequently seen with an owl on her shoulder. Harry Potter was also (Hedwig's intellect saved many times, Harry). Read "Owl Tattoo Designs, Ideas, and Meanings" for additional information and to view more examples.


Bright, flashy, fun, and cunning. Parrots are very special in our hearts since they mimic human voices. We attribute many human traits to parrots because we want to assume they understand what they are saying even though they cannot. When they repeat crude language they've heard, they also evoke the cunning rebelliousness of a pirate. They stand for interaction, friendship, and family.


Although they are occasionally referred to be "proud" or "vain," they have every right to feel good about themselves. What bird has a more impressive appearance than a male peacock? A peacock has a flirty, flamboyant flare for drama and spectacle, with its long train or fan of feathers decorated to resemble bright eyes.


The Phoenix, one of the most magnificent and stirring mythological birds, self-extinguishes and rises from its ashes in an eternal cycle of birth. A phoenix represents hope, tenacity, perseverance, survival, evolution, and rebirth.


Although a raven occasionally connotes mystery and loss life, it need not be a sad image. Additionally, it stands for communication with the spirit realm and intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, and intellect. A raven is frequently connected with the deceased and is viewed as a guide for spirits and a mediator between life and fate because it is a carrion bird (those that scavenge flesh, including gulls, hawks, eagles, vultures, etc.).

In Greek mythology, Apollo's ravens served as spies for the god and intermediaries between the gods and humans. Hugin and Munin, two ravens for mind or knowledge, were said to have sat on the shoulders of the god Odin in Norse mythology (who represents a complicated mix of memory and desire). Every morning he would send them out to travel throughout the globe, and when they returned, they would impart all the knowledge they had learned.

According to Native American mythology, the raven's role is to do whatever it takes to manipulate people to spread knowledge and light throughout the world. The raven is a metaphor for mourning or a never-ending melancholy for a lost loved one in Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven." Read "Raven Tattoo Designs, Ideas, and Meanings" for additional information and to view more examples.

Swallows and Sparrows

Sailors frequently sport old-fashioned tattoo patterns like swallows and sparrows as a sign of optimism for a safe passage. The Egyptians of antiquity thought they guarded the spirits of the deceased. Inmates may have tattoos of swallows or sparrows that stand in opposition to an unfair society. Read "Sparrow and Swallow Tattoo Ideas" for more information and to see some examples.


Feathers are frequently employed in formal settings in Native American cultures because they are thought to have great power and significance. Feathers are also applied to arrows as ballasts to direct them in the desired direction. You want to tattoo just one feather rather than the entire bird. In this situation, choosing the type of feather and being aware of the bird it comes from could still have significance for you.

Do you want an eagle, pheasant, crow, or peacock feather? All feathers are not created equal. Every sort of feather represents the entire bird to which it belonged. "Feather Tattoo Designs, Ideas, and Meanings" has a lot of information and samples. Or read "Wing Tattoo Meanings & Photos" if you're considering getting a wing tattoo.


There's no requirement to make a tattoo appear realistic when creating it. With the help of your tattoo artist, you may design your bird, giving it any appearance and meaning you like—for instance, a brilliant orange crow or a hybrid human bird. Your Frankenstein bird might be equipped with a peacock's plumage, an owl's eyes, and a raven's beak. You are free to use your creativity to create a mythology to support it.

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