Bird tattoos are popular because they are so versatile. They are found in lots of different cultures and suit lots of different tattoo styles. Birds symbolize independence and freedom, as well as peace, optimism and happiness.
Read on to get some inspiration for your new bird tattoo and discover the unique meaning of the different birds. From elegant cranes to delicate swallows and powerful vultures, we have the inspiration for you.
60+ Best Bird Tattoo Design Ideas And What They Mean
In Christianity, the dove holding the olive branch symbolizes peace and harmony. The dove is also seen as a symbol for victory, love and peace. In the story of Noah’s ark, the dove represents new beginnings and starting over.
Doves mate for life and are known for taking care of their families. Many people get a dove tattoo to represent their commitment to their partner and their family.
This bird tattoo is popular with people who have gone through hardships in their life. The hummingbird symbolizes good luck and recovery. Hummingbirds are also thought to bring good luck and positive energy.
Hummingbirds are always on the go, symbolizing hard work and unfailing effort. This bird is often associated with freedom as they travel independently and for long distances.
The owl is associated with lots of different civilizations through time and all over the world. Many cultures believe that owls are protectors and guardians of the dead. For the Greeks and Native Americans, owls symbolized wisdom.
Several cultures believe that the owl would accompany the soul into the afterlife. Owls are also associated with magic, astral projections and mystery. Owls are also connected to medicine, the weather, and death.
This bright and colorful bird is a favorite for many people. They come in lots of bold and pretty color, making them the ideal bird tattoo design. Not just a bright, fun design, they are one of the most intelligent birds on the planet.
Parrots famously imitate other animals; they can mimic human speech and form simple sentence. Parrots are amazing communicators, are very sociable and can easily solve problems. These birds represent playfulness, wit, and friendliness.
Bird of Paradise Tattoo
Birds of paradise of one of the most popular bird tattoos. One of the reasons is because of how beautiful they are with their bright colors and elegant shapes. According to mythology, birds of paradise descend from heaven and never land on earth.
Popularly worn by African tribes, birds of paradise represent grace and elegance. They are connected to heaven and hell.
Did you know:
The bird of paradise is also a plant that is bright in color and is shaped like an exotic bird.
A peacock tattoo holds a lot of symbolism and has lots of representations. In Christianity, the peacock is a symbol of resurrection. In Buddhism, the peacock represents expansive consciousness. Peacocks, with their bold jewel tone shades, represents hope, belief, and optimism.
In some cultures, this bird is a symbol of royalty and glory, associated with guidance, nobility, and protection. The peacock was the vehicle for the Hindi goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. Peacock feathers were also used in the crown of kings and queens. Now, peacocks are better associated with confidence and flirtatious behavior.
Did you know:
NBC has used a peacock logo since 1956. It has been the main network logo since 1986.
The eagle symbolizes power, wisdom, and spirituality. More recently, this bird has become associated with America. As seen on the arms and flag of the USA, it is a symbol of courage and focus.
In Ancient Greece, eagles were a symbol of masculinity and virility. In native American culture, eagles are considered the messenger of gods due to their ability to fly high over the mountain without being harmed by the sun.
Vultures are power birds of prey who represent resourcefulness, no matter the circumstances. Fierce and sometimes villainous, they are magnificent and formidable. They have distinctive features that make the perfect body art statement.
The ancient Mayans believed vultures hovered over the dead and could bring them back to life. They have a bad reputation for being near death, but in fact they are intelligent, loyal and provide for their family.
The crow has become an omen for death and conflict. A solitary crown can be a bad luck omen and a crow cawing three times predicts death. Crows are also associated with witches as spells throughout Europe.
In Chinese and Japanese culture, a crow symbolizes love and is a solar symbol. In North American culture, the crow is a spirit guide and a messenger of the prophets. They represent future, wisdom and love, but in other cultures they are a bad omen.
This cute little bird tattoo can represent both death and rebirth. In Europe, robins are associated with storms and are a harbinger of death. When a robin taps on the window it symbolizes the death of a loved one.
Native Americans believed that robins with a sign of the angels. They represent courtship, home, and family. This is because they stick close to the ground and like to hunt near humans. Robins have a love red and orange color, no matter what they mean to you.
Popular with sailor tattoos, the swallow is thought to represent a departed person’s soul. This little bird symbolizes happiness, grace, and peace. Because swallows travel long distances every year, adventurers get them inked to represent homecoming and safe travels.
Did you know:
In legend, a tattoo of a single swallow symbolized that the wearer had travelled five thousand nautical miles.
The phoenix is one of the most recognized symbols of rebirth and renewal. This mythical bird rises from the ashes and regenerates. This idea is appealing to someone who has survived or live through a difficult event or period of their life.
Getting a phoenix tattoo symbolizes resurrection, courage, and grace. It could be tattooed to represent what you have overcome, or as a remind that you will rise again from the ashes of the current difficult period of your time.
Did you know:
Norman Keith, who is better known as Sailor Jerry created the most popular swallow tattoo design.
The jaybird is usually a gorgeous blue color and makes a very pretty tattoo. Jaybirds are associated with good luck, happiness, and good fortune. This bird species is famed for protecting its young and its family.
Jays are sociable creatures and good communicators. The native Americans believed the blue jay was a symbol of clarity and represented pure heart, soul, and mind.
Cranes carry great importance in China and Japan, where they are believed to bring good future. They are often folded into wedding kimonos, as they will bring a lucky union. During World War II, cranes became a symbol of peace and hope in Japan.
A crane tattoo symbolizes grace, peace, and wisdom. In Ancient Greece, the crane was admired for its endurance and organization skills as it is one of the few birds that fly non-stop between destinations.
Blackbird tattoos represent intelligence and potential. In some cultures, blackbirds are associated with the afterlife and are viewed as messengers of death. Other people get blackbird tattoos in tribute to The Beatles’ song.
Blackbirds are a representation of a high path of knowing, whilst black is considered the color of potential. Blackbird tattoos symbolize higher thought, higher ideas, and intelligence.
Three Little Bird Tattoos
Inspired by Bob Marley’s uplifting song, three little birds represent positivity and eliminating negativities from your life. It’s a powerful statement that celebrates a fantastic musical artist and a good message to live by.
Birds flying together also symbolizes freedom and the feeling of not be constrained. Many see birds flying together as an empowering image. A group of birds also represent family and friendship. In numerology, three means to give joy.
Geometric Bird Tattoos
Geometric bird tattoos are a unique way to express your love of the winged animals. No matter which bird you feel connected to, it will make an attractive geometric tattoo.
A geometric bird tattoo creates the form of a bird by using several lines or geometric shapes. They are generally created with a black outline and can be filled in with various colors and shapes.
New School Bird Tattoo
New school bird tattoos are bold, vibrant and attention seeking. Because birds have naturally bright colors and their features can be exaggerated, they make the ideal new school tattoo. Although new school evolves with the trend, it is famed for the lack of blue lines, replaced by heavy saturated primary colors.
New school bird tattoos can have exaggerated features that make them look like cartoon characters. They can also be given human features that are sure to put a smile on your face.
Did you know:
Tattoo artist Marcus Pacheco is thought to have popularized new school tattooing.
Traditional Bird Tattoo
Traditional style bird tattoos have bold lines and bright colors. Based on classic sailor tattoo designs, birds make the ideal traditional tattoo. Striking and timeless, they involve bold black outlines and saturated primary shades.
Bird tattoos in this traditional Americana style are usually accompanied by roses, skulls, or images of people. Swallows are the most common traditional bird tattoo, but this style can be applied to everything from flamingos to parrots.
Watercolor Bird Tattoos
Because so many birds have such beautiful colors, embrace that by getting a watercolor bird tattoo. This versatile tattoo style can capture the movement of a little bird, ideal for animals like a hummingbird who are also on the move.
Choose from a range of colors from light pastels to big bright shades. Watercolor tattooists can add a black outline, or have the design only made from colors.
Bird Tattoo: More FAQ
Which Celebrities Have Bird Tattoos?
Bird tattoos are very common with celebrities. Many have this design to celebrate their freedom, or to signify an important part of their life. Here are just some of the many celebrities who have a bird tattoo.
Julia Michaels has a bird in flight, inked by London Reese, on her upper left arm. Iggy Azalea added a pair of kookaburra birds to her sleeve tattoo, they are native to her homeland of Australia. Noah Cyrus inked a thunderbird tattoo on her right ring finger to celebrate her Cherokee heritage.
Rihanna has a large Egyptian falcon inked on her ankle. It was inspired by the fact these falcons were carved into the walls as tribute to the king in the sky. Singer Adele has a large tattoo of flying birds on her back. Florence Welch honored her friend, with a bird and heart tattooed on her forearm.
Actress Dakota Johnson has a tattoo of three birds in flight on her right shoulder. Sarah Hyland has a hummingbird tattoo behind her ear to represent independence and resilience. Zoe Kravitz has a flying eagle tattooed on the back of her right forearm and doves on the back of her neck.
Game of Thrones actress Lena Headey has a big red bird tattoo on the right side of her back alongside cherry blossoms. Christina Ricci has a swallow tattoo on her right breast and Lea Michele a small bird on her hip to represent freedom.
Comedian Margaret Cho has a bold tattoo on her left upper arm of a bird with the body of a phoenix and purple peacock feathers as the tail. Drew Barrymore has an outline of a bird tattooed on her right forearm and Emma Stone chose to get bird’s footprints on her wrest in tribute to her mom’s favorite song “Blackbird”.
Singer Paloma Faith is famous for the two large birds flying on her back and shoulder. The late Amy Winehouse had a bird on a branch alongside the words “Never Clip My Wings.” This design is now used for her charity logo.
What Bands Have Bird Logos?
People like to get tattoos to represent their favorite bands. Some bands have bird related logos that make the perfect tattoo.
Rock band Queen have a logo which combines the zodiac signs of all four members: two lions for the two Leos, a crab for Cancer, and two fairies for Virgo. This is alongside a crown and a huge phoenix. It is inspired by the British royal coat of arms.
Bayside have a well-loved bird sat on a branch for their logo. It was inspired by wallpaper and has become a symbol of strength for both the band and their fans.
The Wu Tang Clan logo is a stylized W that resembles a bird. The logo is usually in either yellow or black and has become a popular tattoo for fans of the band.
Iconic punk band The Ramones have one of the most recognizable logos in rock and roll. Based on the American presidential seal, it features an eagle holding a baseball bat with its talons and an olive branch in the other talon.
What Do Flying Bird Tattoos Mean?
Birds in flight represent freedom and independence. Birds are free to travel wherever they want, something many of us are envious of. Flying birds are also thought to represent the link between heaven and earth. A tattoo of a bird in flight also symbolizes that nothing in permanent in the world, we are all free spirits.
What Does A Birdcage Tattoo Mean?
A birdcage tattoo represents the idea that someone is fully trapped. A bird inside the cage represents the feeling of being confined. A birdcage that is open is more positive. It can represent freedoms and new beginners.
Birdcages can also be seen as something to protect us from things or people that may do us harm. So, a birdcage isn’t always a bad thing, it could symbolize a safe place.
What Do The Bird Tattoos In Divergent Mean?
Popular with fans of the Divergent book and film series are tattoos that match their favorite characters, many of which are bird related.
Tri has a tattoo of three ravens on her collarbone, this represents each of her members of the family she has left behind. Tori has a black and white hawk with red eyes on the back of her neck. The hawk symbolizes the sun in their ancient world and is there to remind her of the fears she must overcome.