Birds have captured people's imagination throughout history. They are the topic of myths and literature throughout the world. It is therefore no surprise that bird tattoos are amongst the most popular modern tattoo designs.
With almost 9000 known species of birds there are plenty of bird designs to choose from. Below is a ranking of the most popular. For each design the most common meaning is given. However, keep in mind that as with any symbols there may be countless interpretations of meaning and significance.
Peacocks are associated with the ancient Greek god Hera (Greek Goddess of women and marriage).
An Eagle can symbolize many things but tends to be most associated with the United States of America.
In Chinese culture, Cranes are messengers of love and happiness and symbolize high status and immortality.
There are numerous references to ravens in world mythology and literature. The Old Testament of the Bible lists Ravens as the first animal release from the Ark. In Norse mythology, Ravens often represented bloodshed and battle. The Raven was the creator of the world for several Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of the United States.
Chickadee's make for cute tattoos that are popular with women.
4. Native American Bird Designs
Birds are a recurring theme in Native American art and have various symbolism and meanings.
Swallows symbolize spring and fertility.
Swallow tattoos were used by British sailors to mark their sailing experience. A sailor got one swallow tattoo for every 5,000 nautical miles traveled over the seas (sailing was historically a very dangerous occupation).
Sparrows symbolize freedom. In some countries, it is common for prisoners get sparrow tattoos upon release.
The Phoenix is a mythical fire spirit that is said to have a thousand year life-cycle. At the end of each cycle the Phoenix is reborn in fire. Phoenix tattoos are popular with both men and women and are said to symbolize longevity.