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Owl Tattoos Meanings Designs Ideas and Culture: All You Need to Know About It

by TattoosNear 11 May 2022

Owl tattoos come in several styles, including owls in trees, flying owls, and perching owls. They could be authentically shown or part of a broader design. Some tattoo artists choose to do cute owl tattoos for women and girls, while others prefer to make complicated abstract owl tattoos for guys. Your choice of owl tattoo design is determined by your unique style and the message you wish to convey.

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. 

Owls in many Cultures


Owls have a lot of distinguishing characteristics, so there are a lot of positive and harmful depictions of them, as you'll see later. The excellent attitude, hawk-like beak, and broad flat head distinguish an owl. Except for the ice caps and a few isolated islands, owls can be found everywhere.

African Culture and Owls

Owls were thought to be a bad omen by the Kikuyu, a Bantu ethnic group in Kenya. They were thought to be foretellers of lousy luck, terrible health, or even life. According to their superstition, if you saw an owl or heard it hoot, you, someone you know, or someone in the region was about to die.

As a result, if you are close to someone who practices this African culture, it is better to avoid owl tattoos. Because this idea is still held by the Kikuyu and numerous other African ethnic groups, it may be preferable to avoid owls out of respect.

Ancient European Culture and Owls

By the late nineteenth century, owls were thought to be ill omen associated with disaster, and abominations. Owls were regarded as terrible birds due to their nocturnal and predatory nature and were thought to be nighttime monsters. 

Asian Culture and Owls

Owls are thought to be a good omen in East Asia. According to one Mongolian legend, Genghis Khan was hiding from his foes in a bit of copse in the forest when an owl roosted in the tree he was hiding in. His adversaries assumed no one was hiding in the tree since no owl would roost in a tree occupied by a man.

Owls are thought to bring good luck and fortune to Japan. Instead of getting a tattoo, modern Japanese people prefer to wear talismans and charms with an owl.

Greek Mythology and Owls

In Greek mythology, owls are frequently connected with wisdom. Athena was frequently represented with a small owl known solely as the Owl of Athena. Owls are associated with knowledge, wisdom, and cunning in the west since Athena is the goddess of wisdom.

It's unknown why owls were identified with the goddess of wisdom in Greek mythology, but historians suggest three possibilities.

For starters, it's possible that Athena descended from an Old European or a Minoan deity concerned with birds. Second, the capacity of an owl to see in the dark served as a metaphor for wisdom. Finally, it could just reference Athens, which was named after Athena and many little owls in the vicinity.

Apart from wisdom, Athena was also regarded as the goddess of war, despite Ares' dominance as the god of war. When owls flew with an army, it was thought to signify that they were fighting with Athena's permission.

Owls in Roman Legend

Roman mythology converted the Greek goddess Athena into Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom. Minerva had her Owl of Minerva, but instead of being associated with wisdom, it was just Athena's favorite bird, which she received from Nyctimene, a princess.

Nyctimene was the daughter of Esopus, the king of Lesbos, according to Roman legend. Nyctimene escaped to the forest after her father hurt her and refused to come out in the daylight. Minerva was moved by her plight and transformed her into an owl. Nyctimene, however, was still so ashamed that she would not be seen in daylight, even as a bird.

Interestingly, while owls were thought to be a sign of Athena's blessings in Greek mythology, the Romans saw owls as a negative omen. If an owl hooted while perched on someone's roof, it was thought that someone in that house would die soon.

It was also thought that if an owl's feather were placed near someone sleeping, they would confess their secrets. An owl feather tattoo could represent honesty or the fact that you're the person who never keeps secrets hidden.

Hinduism's owls

Owls are considered sacred in Hinduism because they were the goddess Lakshmi's vahana (animal entity utilized by deities to explore the universe). Lakshmi is the goddess of money, fortune, love, beauty, prosperity, etc. As a result, owls are associated with these positive concepts by association.

Native American Culture and Owls

Native Americans saw owls as harbingers of supernatural threats. While westerners frequently warn their children about the bogeyman, Native American legend cautions children that if they do not behave, the owls will come after them.

The sound of an owl hooting denotes that the bogeyman is outside in Apache and Seminole tribes. The children are then warned that the owls will take them away if they are not quiet and stay inside at night. Owls are also said to deliver messages or cautions to the living, particularly if they have broken their tribe's laws.


Owl Tattoo Meaning

The symbolism of an owl tattoo is extensive. In fact, among all of the animal tattoos available today, it is one of the most popular. Owl tattoos come in all different shapes and sizes. True, there's something about owls that fascinates and awes those who see them. Throughout history, owls have been admired, revered, feared, and regarded as clever and foolish. They've also been linked to magic, the weather, birth, life, and medicine.

Wisdom And Darkness

Many people obtain owl tattoos because they recognize and appreciate the owl's dual connotations of darkness and knowledge. Although most people identify owls with intellectual wisdom, they are also associated with spiritual wisdom. Their capacity to see in the dark represents the concept of seeing through deceptions and illusions. The owl is the heart of true wisdom because it can see what others cannot.


Owls are typically seen as mysterious because they are nocturnal birds. This is aided by the fact that many individuals regard the night as a mysterious period. As a result, owls thrive in the night's darkness, enchantment, mystery, and ancient knowledge. Owls are also intimately associated with the moon. The owl's intimate association with the moon and the night is one of the main reasons for its reputation as a bird of insight. Owls are considered protectors of the holy and represent spiritual purity.

Maturity And Life Transitions

Many cultures regard owls as a symbol of significant life transitions, implying that significant events are about to occur. According to many people, owls are also associated with magic, divination, and astral projection. Owl tattoo designs represent a light that shines through the darkest of times, according to many who have them. Owls are the embodiment of vision and hope.

Owl tattoos have a lot of symbolism and are both gorgeous and distinctive. This is most likely why men and women of all ages are becoming more interested in these tattoos.

What Do Owl Tattoos Go With?

Allow for the background and associated imagery.

Whether you're getting a massive owl chest tattoo or a small owl tattoo, it can be tough to know what will complement it. If you're getting an owl chest tattoo, the most excellent way to show off the owl's strength is to depict it in flight, and what better place to do it than the chest and back?

The owl should be placed among tree branches, stars, and the moon, the most reasonable alternative. On the other hand, most tattoo artists would inform you that owls are usually depicted with other symbols like flowers, keys, clocks, or anything else that feels intuitively natural to the individual having the tattoo.

The Ability To Experiment With Designs

Tattoo artists occasionally deviate from the standard owl pattern, creating owls with jewels for eyes or owls holding lanterns in their talons. Many owl tattoos feature owls alongside clocks or hourglasses, as owls are associated with time. Furthermore, many parents will choose to have many baby owl tattoos to symbolize their offspring. When it comes to children, some individuals prefer to tattoo an owl next to a pussycat, as in the children's nursery rhyme "The Owl and the Pussycat." Don't be hesitant to incorporate color in your owl tattoo, even if black and grey are beautiful and can show off many details. Nothing communicates life and energy like a colorful owl.

Owl Tattoos for Women and Men 

Women's owl tattoos symbolize love and protection. For guys, owl tattoos represent duty and bravery.

The female owl is larger than the male. One explanation explains this by observing that owls are roughly the same size as their prey. While a male owl forages for food, a female owl stays at the nest to protect her eggs and younglings.

Smaller males are preferred mates because they can catch their prey with more agility and quickness.

Another explanation for females' larger size is that they should remain in the nest while their male mate forages. Because they cannot leave the nest to hunt, they must survive for extended periods without starvation. Hence larger females are desired. Female owls with larger bodies can also dismember their prey and feed it to their offspring.

Couples with matching owl tattoos may be a good symbol.

The stigma attached to stay-at-home parents and homemakers has risen in recent years. You and your partner may have similar duties, just like owls, and there's nothing wrong with that if you're both satisfied.

Typically, an owl tattoo on a husband or father represents his responsibility to provide, while an owl tattoo on a woman or mother represents her responsibility to protect their children.

Various Owl Tattoo Designs and Their Meanings

Small Owl Tattoo

Small tattoos are a terrific way to be inked without spending a lot of money or time. The fact that these items are small does not diminish their significance. Many men and women choose minor, unobtrusive versions of their favorite designs. The attractive aspect of these tattoos is that they are not restricted in placement and may be obtained from any place. An owl looks equally excellent, occupying half of your back or making a statement on your finger.

Simple Owl Tattoo

A simple tattoo will appeal to you if you prefer minimalist designs versus those with intricate details. The beauty of this artwork is that it focuses on the vital parts, giving your chosen ink an overall classic and modern vibe without trying too hard; having a design that is stripped back, with simple black lines and no shading, may be pretty effective. It's an excellent option for a laid-back guy.

Realistic Owl Tattoo

Do you want your tattoo to be visible on your skin? Then getting a realistic owl tattoo is a fantastic option. Individuals who want their selected design to match the genuine thing closely are increasingly turning to this inking method. As a result, the sculpture is uplifting and scary, especially when it depicts an animal. It's critical to find the appropriate tattoo artist because you'll need someone specializing in this style to execute it effectively.

Great Horned Owl Tattoo

Great Horned Owl Tattoo

There are many different species of owls, each with its own set of characteristics and requirements, and the great horned owl would make an excellent tattoo. This nocturnal bird is not only physically appealing due to its earlike tufts, but it also has symbolic significance. Great horned owl tattoos are connected with wisdom and intellect, but this particular bird also represents power and is seen as a guardian because it is one of the larger species.

Ovo Owl Tattoo 

Drake's OVO brand is well-known among Drake fans, and it makes a fantastic tattoo option! The name stands for October's Very Own, and it incorporates the logo for the musician's apparel business and his yearly musical event in Toronto, Canada. The design is simple, focusing on an owl's shape rather than detailing or shading. Still, it's a visually appealing emblem with pop-culture appeal, ideal for rap enthusiasts.

Snowy Owl Tattoo

The snowy owl, a huge white bird native to the Arctic areas of North America and the Palearctic, is one of the most majestic owls. It is a genuinely remarkable animal that is supposed to embody dignity and class. As a result, it's best to get this tattoo as realistic as possible to show it off to its greatest potential. Owls are also rich in symbolism and are thought to represent wisdom and understanding, which might be appealing to someone who appreciates these qualities and wishes to be reminded of their importance.

Athena Owl Tattoo

The owl has been used to represent Athena, the Greek goddess of combat and knowledge and Zeus' favorite child. Because nocturnal birds can swivel their heads at such remarkable degrees, it is thought that they helped her see a complete reality. It is for this reason that these lovely creatures are linked to wisdom. A man who is in touch with his masculinity while also recognizing female energy, or someone who prefers rational thinking and reasoning, would be interested in getting a piece like this.

Colorful Owl Tattoo

A bright owl tattoo is a fun way to be creative with your design. We realize these birds have muted colors in real life, but your imagination is the limit when it comes to having ink on your skin. The bright, contrasting colors draw attention to the painting and urge greater detail. We recommend using larger placement alternatives, such as the arm or leg, to make a statement.

Barn Owl Tattoo

Barn Owl Tattoo

The barn owl is one of the most easily recognized owl species. As their name suggests, these lovely species are frequently found nesting and roosting in barns and other structures. This particular nocturnal bird is connected with peacefulness but also the mystery. You can select to ink a single image of the owl or a combination of elements. Don't be scared to let your imagination run wild with the design and what you want to convey about yourself.

Owl Eyes Tattoo

Owl Eyes Tattoo

The eyes of an owl are fixed in their sockets, yet they can move their heads at unusual angles and so view in nearly every direction. They're also skilled hunters with exceptional vision. The ability of these nocturnal birds to see everything has great symbolic meaning; tattoos like these could be associated with a sense of observation and intelligence. The design's overall effect is quite manly, making it a popular choice among males drawn to both the symbolism and the cool imagery.

Traditional Tribal Owl Tattoo

The owl is rich in symbolism and has cultural value; for example, the bird is seen as a symbol of protection by some Native American tribes. Others, on the other hand, think it signifies evil and links it to the god of life. The afterlife is also associated with nocturnal birds. Tribal tattoos have a distinct aesthetic, and the design can be basic or highly intricate, depending on which tribe you choose to draw inspiration from. A significant traditional option can be used to commemorate a culture.

Mystic Owl Tattoo

Do you want something that indicates mystery or physical ability tattooed on your body? A mystic owl tattoo is all about this concept, and it's easy to see why males might find this design alluring. The predatory bird's symbolism is extensive, including profound insight and transformation. When mixed with more magical aspects like a moon and the darkness of the night sky, it becomes more mysterious and enticing.

Owl Skull Tattoo

Owl Skull Tattoo

Individuals equate these beautiful creatures with not just knowledge and intelligence but also spirituality and life, a theme explored with an owl and skull tattoo. The owl may stand for malevolent spirits or the deceased when these two elements are united, and your artwork may be connected to the afterlife. It can also represent something that gets signals from the afterlife. Although this design has a darker meaning, it would be ideal for someone thinking about their mortality.

Owl with a Dreamcatcher Tattoo

The owl has a lot of meaning in Native American cultures and may represent many things, so it's no surprise that it's been coupled with another important symbol, the dream catcher. The handwoven creation is related to protection and is used to prevent people from unpleasant dreams. Combining the photos takes on a new meaning; owl with a dreamcatcher tattoo can be interpreted as a way to keep a loved one's soul alive. It can also pay tribute to loved ones who have passed away from this world.

Watercolor Owl Tattoo

A watercolor owl tattoo will get you noticed, and it's easy to see why; this interesting style is gaining popularity due to its stylish appearance. The beauty of watercolor ink is that it appears as if someone took a paintbrush to your skin and made a beautiful painting, and that is the pleasure of getting inked with a design like this. The brilliant hues appear to melt into one another, creating a difficult piece to overlook. Although many individuals prefer not to use black outlines, they are necessary if you want your design to keep its shape for longer.

Black-Banded Owl Tattoo

This bird is infrequently observed, despite its widespread distribution.

This unusual combination of population and secrecy results in a tattoo that denotes someone who is always present yet rarely noticed.

Perhaps this isn't such a bad thing— you observe, listen, and see the world in a way that others don't.

If it fits your personality, the black-banded owl is not only a fierce-looking tattoo, but it may also be your little secret to a world where you rule from the sidelines.

Owl and Mandala Tattoo

Because of its deep symbolism, an owl mandala tattoo can be special and unique. In many civilizations, the predatory bird of prey is connected with wisdom, secrecy, and intelligence, and it performs an important role. It takes on a powerful and uplifting connotation when coupled with a mandala, a geometric grouping of symbols that helps to focus spirituality. The design can be used to explore the spiritual realm while also focusing on what matters most in life.

Owl and Clock Tattoo

When we see an image of a watch, we immediately consider time and how it connects to the delicate balance between life and its end. It's common to combine the tattoo symbols of an owl with a clock. Given that the night bird is frequently considered to represent the afterlife or even a sign of imminent demise, it makes sense that they would join forces. A man who is a deep thinker could like this design. With the hands of the watch indicating the time of loss of life, it can also be used to honor a loved one's memory.

Geometric Owl Tattoo Tattoo

Geometric Owl Tattoo Tattoo

Geometric owl tattoos are fascinating because they highlight the period of the owl's life when it hides in the dark and waits for its prey.

An owl tattooed in a geometric style is for someone a bit dark (and preferably doesn't have prey) but also a risk-taker who is always looking for the next opportunity.

Flying Owl Tattoo

With a flying owl tattoo, you have no boundaries.

Or maybe you wish you didn't have any at all.

The owl is knowledgeable and all-knowing, and it is completely free when it soars across the sky.

This tattoo represents independence and inner tranquility, which aids in developing wisdom.

As a result, this tattoo is spiritual.

In any case, the flying owl tattoo can assist you in taking the first step toward becoming the person you truly desire.

Wolf and Owl Tattoos

Wolf and Owl Tattoos

When these two predators are combined, they make a formidable team.

The wolf tattoo emphasizes the predatory element of the owl's symbology, which denotes danger and ferocity.

This is the tattoo of a lifelong fighter with several battle scars.

Where Should You Place an Owl Tattoo?

Owl Chest Tattoo

Small designs might be charming, but the chest is the ideal location for a more complex look. A large owl tattoo can cover a vast area and take advantage of the shape; for example, a bird soaring with its wings outstretched. It's also a little more discreet regarding location, allowing you to cover up anytime you wish. There are many advantages to getting a chest tattoo, but you should be warned that it is not for the faint of heart, and getting inked here will hurt due to the proximity to the bone.

Owl Neck Tattoo

Neck tattoos aren't for the faint of heart, which means that if you're courageous enough to get tattooed here, you can expect a lot of pain. The skin in this area is thin and sensitive, and without the padding of muscle and fat, you'll probably wince every time the needle touches you. Even Nevertheless, an owl design in this position is highly eye-catching if you can bear the agony. It's also a great place to display your artwork.

You can try owl neck temporary tattoos!

Owl Neck Temporary Tattoo

Owl Neck Temporary Tattoo

Owl Forearm Tattoo 

Because it is one of the least painful places to get inked, the forearm is a great choice for a tattoo. It's also a very adaptable region that works well for modest and detailed projects. If you choose a larger piece, we suggest printing it in black ink solely since it will have a greater impact. When getting a forearm tattoo, think of it as a spot to put a meaningful tattoo that you and others may see daily.

Owl Sleeve Tattoo

Why limit yourself to just one tattoo when you can cover your entire sleeve? Sleeve tattoos cover the entire arm, as the name implies. They attract attention, making them a popular choice among guys who want to stand out. One of the best aspects of this option is the variety of options available. You can add natural components like roses or be more creative with the design by including specific symbols if you use an image of these nocturnal birds.

Owl Back Tattoo

Tattoos are becoming more accepted in society, and the stereotype that these markings are only for rebels is fading. Still, the location of your tattoo can impact your career options; this is why the back is a great option for those who want or have a more formal job. You can cover up your ink at any time, making it personal and unique to you. Because the skin in the area is thick and has few nerve endings, it isn't considered one of the most painful places in terms of pain.

Owl Arm Tattoo

Why not choose an arm tattoo if you want a large enough space to get a detailed design without the discomfort of getting tattooed on your ribs or shoulder blade? It is a favorite hangout site for males because it is constantly showcased. The draw is that you may ink something meaningful to you, which you will be able to see frequently and serve as a reminder of why you chose the design in the first place.

Owl Hand Tattoo


Hand tattoos suit simple patterns, but your imagination is the limit. This means that detailed owl items can be highly eye-catching and important in this setting. The most important thing to keep in mind when tattooing this area is that it fades faster than other body parts. Because of how frequently we use our hands and our exposure to the outdoors, it is regarded as one of the more uncomfortable placement alternatives because of the thin skin and sensitivity in the area.

Owls Knee Tattoo 

The knee is an unusual and painful location for a tattoo. However, it is a fantastic choice for a man willing to put up with the discomfort. It's also becoming more popular; it looks super cool and is one of the most visible places to flaunt a tattoo that means something to you. The most painful part of the body to get tattooed is the kneecap. A man who decides to display his design here wants to demonstrate his toughness to the world. Why does it hurt so much? This is due to the delicate and thin skin that surrounds the bone. A piece will take 2 to 3 weeks to heal here, but it will be worth the wait.

Is it Good to Have an Owl Tattoo?

Expect a plain owl tattoo to be open to interpretation with so much positive and negative symbolism for owl tattoos. Some may interpret it as a sign of wisdom, while others may interpret it as a harbinger of tragedy. Finally, an owl tattoo is only as good as you make it, so pick one of the things an owl signifies and make it your own.

Of course, incorporating an owl tattoo within a design that includes another tattoo might alter or improve its significance.

The significance of an owl and skull tattoo, for example, can be a reference to an owl's life connections, serving as a memento mori, reminding you that you will die at some point. Every day should be lived to the utmost. Memento mori does not have to be a negative concept; it can have a good connotation if you want it to.

Temporary tattoos can be used if you can't determine where to put the tattoo. The first and most significant advantage of temporary tattoos is that they do not require the use of needles, which could normally irritate your skin. A temporary tattoo does not cause the same amount of pain as a permanent tattoo. Temporary tattoos are a great option for those who don't want to commit to a permanent body tattoo.

You can try owl temporary tattoos before real ink!

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