66 Beautiful Bird Tattoos with Meaning

Birds are a beautiful symbol of freedom and dreams. From small to big, black to color, these bird tattoos will inspire your next ink.

Birds are the messengers of nature. They bring joy to us with their colorful feathers and cheerful singing. Seeing birds spreading wings across the sky casts away the dullness and sadness.

While not all of us have the luxury of raising birds or going birdwatching regularly, bird tattoos become a way of connecting with these fluffy little friends. And because each species has its own symbolism, bird tattoos may carry various meanings.

So if you are thinking about getting bird tattoos, you are in the right place. We’ve gathered a list of bird tattoo ideas with their meaning explained. They are categorized in species and styles, so you can find the perfect design for your next ink.

Don’t forget to tell us about your favorite bird at the end of the post or share your personal story. Now, onto the ideas.

Disclaimer: This collection of bird tattoos is for inspiration only. Please do not copy the artwork. If you love these tattoos, follow artists and show them some support.

Simple and small bird tattoos

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Birds can be tattooed as big or small as you want. You have more flexibility in their placement with a smaller tattoo. You can put it on the shoulder, the arm, or somewhere as tiny as the side of the finger.

It is also a good idea to start small if you are getting your first tattoo. To make it more personal and unique, think about adding different patterns to the body or finding a species you related to.

Abstract dove tattoo on the arm

Small simple dove tattoo by @simya_tattoo


Want something simpler? Consider abstract bird tattoos like this. It keeps only the basic form, minimizing the cost of time. But the imagery is still recognizable.

Flying birds neck tattoo

Small simple flying bird tattoo by @barim_tale


Matching mother daughter tattoos

Small simple Bird tattoo by @yumemonchi


These mother-daughter tattoos prove that matching ink doesn’t have to be identical. In this case, the daughter gets a sparrow tattoo, representing youth and affection.The mother’s tattoo says, “today is my youngest day.”, echoing the sparrow symbolism. But they also make sense independently.

Black and white dove tattoo

Simple black and white dove tattoo by @aluna.tattoo


Realism is not the only style for bird tattoos. If you are a minimalist, a simple tattoo like this one will fit your aesthetics better.

Beautiful and intricate bird tattoo ideas

There is so much you can do with bird tattoos. First are the feathers. You can go as detailed as you wish to make a tattoo stand out.

Second, the color. Bird tattoos don’t have to be exactly like the real birds. And this gives you the room to be creative. Customize a bird tattoo with your favorite color, and now you have a one-of-a-kind design.

Realism yellow bird tattoo

Beautiful and intricate bird tattoo by @harry_color


Abstract ink wash style black bird tattoo

Abstract ink wash style black bird tattoo by @mukyeon_tattoo


Flowers and bird full sleeve watercolor tattoo

Flowers and bird full sleeve tattoo by @picsola


Realism bird tattoo

Realism bird tattoo by @tattooist_color.b


Stunning bird shoulder and arm tattoo

Stunning bird shoulder and arm tattoo by @zuzapolakowska


Bluebird tattoos

Bluebirds may refer to more than one species. For example, the Eastern bluebird, Bluejay, Indigo bunting, and some tree swallows all have stunning blue fur.

Across cultures, people believe that blue is a color that brings joy and calmness. Thus bluebirds are often seen as a symbol of happiness. And if you spot a bluebird in the wild, it’s a sign that something good may happen.

Blue bird neck tattoo

Blue bird neck tattoo by @9room_tattoo


Neck tattoos can cause more pain because the skin is thin in this area. But a stunning bluebird tattoo like this is worth it.

Cute little bluebird and Camellia

Cute little blue bird and red flower tattoo by @eunyutattoo


Bluebird back tattoo

Bluebird back tattoo by @ms_aleen


A shade of color can make a black tattoo pop. This back tattoo, for example, is painted in pure black except for the bird. The blue color not only draws attention. It also maintains the balance between visual impact and simplicity.

Bluebird and lily in the valley

Bluebird and lily in the valley by @tilda_tattoo


Hand poked blue bird tattoo

Hand poked blue bird tattoo by @baekya_tt


Flying bird tattoo ideas

Just like other dragon and mermaid tattoos, bird tattoos provide different possibilities of postures to choose from. And many people opt for flying birds because of the symbolism.

While birds of different species may have different meanings, flying birds symbolize freedom and prosperity. Birds soar as they spread their wings. And they glide through the sky freely with nothing holding them back. Thus flying bird tattoos are sometimes referred to as free bird tattoos. They represent the wearers’ pursuit of freedom and dreams.

Flying birds collarbone tattoo

Flying birds collarbone tattoo by @fputak


Collarbone tattoos are not easy to pull off. The skin is pretty thin, and there’s not much flat space to be creative. And a good collarbone tattoo should go with the flow of the bone structure.

This flying bird tattoo, however, checks both boxes. And it manages to bring movements to a static ink while keeping the relatively design simple.

Eagle and moon phase tattoo

Eagle and moon phase tattoo by @the.xx_.ttt_


Abstract dove tattoo on the arm

Lifeline and flying bird tattoo by @guseul_tattoo


Lifelines are often seen in doctor or nurse tattoos, signifying how precious life is. This meaningful tattoo combines the lifeline and a bluebird. It’s a reminder to value our life and never give up on them.

Minimalist black and grey flying bird tattoo

Minimalist black and grey flying bird tattoo by @handitrip


A flying owl sleeve tattoo

A flying owl sleeve tattoo by @start.your_.line_


Crow tattoos and symbolism

Across cultures, crows have both negative and positive symbolisms. For example, according to OnTheFeeder, crows represent death in Christianity but a messenger of God in Catholicism.

In the east, people also have contrasting ideas about these black birds. Chinese see them as a sign of bad luck. But in Buddhism, crows represent protection and wisdom.

Despite the different meanings, crows make excellent tattoo motifs because of their black color. Not many people have pure black bird tattoos, making crow tattoos rare. And they are considered to be powerful animals for their association with mythologies, witches, and magic. Therefore, crows may be what you are looking for if you are looking for a badass tattoo.

Crow side tattoo

Crow side tattoo by @bgxgrim


Golden leaves and crow tattoo

Golden leaves and crow tattoo by @jiro_painter


A flying crow bicep tattoo

A flying crow bicep tattoo by @stuffie.ink_


Crow standing on the rock

Crow standing on the rock by @thommesen_ink


Hummingbird tattoo ideas

Do you know that a hummingbird can flap up to 70 times per second? Their streamlined bodies, long wings, and sparkly eyes make them cute tattoo objects. And because they have a variety of stunning, vibrant colors, they appeal to both tattoo artists and wearers.

It’s no surprise that these little birds come with positive symbolisms. They are considered to bring joy, good luck, and healing. And because they help spread pollens of flowers, they also symbolize growth and prosperity.

Cute hummingbirds thigh tattoo

Cute hummingbirds thigh tattoo by @abii_tattoo


Hummingbirds and kumquat

Hummingbirds and kumquat by @non_lee_ink


Tattooist Nonlee is known for her bold taste in colors. This shoulder blade tattoo is another successful experiment. By adding reflective metallic colors to the tattoo, both the birds and the fruits take on an unreal and stunning look.

Rainbow color hummingbird tattoo

Rainbow color hummingbird tattoo by @blu.tattoo


Sometimes birds can be a canvas for your imagination. You can tattoo your favorite bird in the color of your choice and create a unique tat, just like this bird tattoo in rainbow colors.

A unique embossed hummingbird tattoo

A unique embossed hummingbird tattoo by @tattooist_bear


Hummingbirds and wild flowers

Hummingbirds and wild flowers by @abii_tattoo


Wildflowers represent life and energy. Despite the lack of care, wildflowers still thrive. With imagery like the hummingbirds, this tattoo would belong to a cheerful person with incredible inner strength.

Cute robin tattoos

If you want a cute bird tattoo, a robin may be for you. It’s hard not to love these tiny, fluffy pals with round heads, watery eyes, and an orange belly with a distinctive white patch.

In terms of meaning, robins are sometimes associated with death. But as the saying goes, new beginnings are often disguised as painful endings; robins also signify a new beginning and the start of spring. If you are to embrace a new life chapter, robin tattoos may bring you the hope and strength you need.

Robin and cornflower

Robin and cornflower by @abii_tattoo


Stunning watercolor robin tattoo

Stunning watercolor robin tattoo by @bycamilaconti


Robin and cherry blossom waist tattoo

Robin and cherry blossom waist tattoo by @7thscapes


Swallow tattoos

Swallows are long-distance travelers. They spend most of their time flying in the sky. And some species of swallows are seasonal migrators.

That’s why swallows have been a symbol of protection for travelers and sailors. They believe the birds can ward off evil energies and keep them safe while away from home.

Black and white sparrow rib tattoo

Black and white sparrow rib tattoo by @lucyctattoos


A pair of swallows on the shoulders

A pair of swallows on the shoulders by @mrcl_____


While one swallow may represent the desire to explore the world, two swallows in a tattoo often mean a long journey. These swallows on both shoulders are a classic example. They are considered to be a lucky charm and will bring adventurers back home safely.

Elegant crane tattoos

Crane tattoos are getting increasingly popular recently, especially in Asia. These giant birds are highly distinctive with their long necks, long legs, and large wings.

In addition, cranes show up a lot in Asian literature as a symbol of longevity and loyalty, giving them a deeper meaning.

Because of their elongated body shape and wide wingspread, cranes make perfect tattoos for extensive placements such as the back, the rib, and the thigh. But we can also see small crane tattoos on areas like the sternum and the neck.

A flying crane on the back

A flying crane on the back by @arang_eleven


Crane and sun tattoo

Crane and sun tattoo by @choiyun_tattoo


Crane and red spider lily neck tattoo

Crane and red spider lily neck tattoo by @hazy_tattoos


Crane tattoo on the sternum

Crane tattoo on the sternum by @saskiapatrice


Vertical crane landscape tattoo

Vertical crane landscape tattoo by @tattooist_eq


Most landscape tattoos stretch horizontally. This arm tattoo, however, takes a different approach. By cropping out a narrow strip, it captures a glimpse of an oriental painting, leaving room for imagination. And it also fits on the arm better.

Bird and cage tattoos

Birds are not always the only objects in a tattoo. Sometimes they pair with other motifs to express a different idea. Bird and cage tattoos are a good example.

The meaning of bird and cage tattoos is pretty straightforward. The cage represents strains, confinement, and oppression, while birds symbolize the pursuit of freedom.

Depending on how a tattooist depicts the two objects, bird and cage tattoos can be positive or negative. For example, if the bird is locked in the cage, it may signify the current mental struggle of the wearers. They feel trapped and don’t know how to break out. On the other hand, if the birds are out of the cage, it may be a tattoo honoring the wearers’ strength or celebrating liberty.

Beautiful bird, cage and tree of life

Beautiful bird, cage and tree of life tattoo by @tattoo_of_jangmah


Black and grey bird cage tattoo

Black and grey bird cage tattoo by @abievetattoo


Bluebird breaking out of the cage

Bluebird breaking out of the cage by @elenapietropoli


Escaped caged birds

Escaped caged birds by @jayzinktattoo


Dove bird tattoos with meaning

Doves are one of the birds we are all familiar with. Human beings have been domesticating doves and pigeons for centuries.

Because of the precise flight pattern and the ability to travel a long distance, they had been used as messengers before modern technologies. That’s why doves are considered a bridge between different cultures, spreading peace and joy.

These fluffy white birds also symbolize love because of their monogamy. They have one partner for life and are extremely affectionate with each other. So if you want to pay tribute to your relationship, a pair of doves will make perfect couple tattoos.

Realism dove tattoo

Realism dove tattoo by @_cath.art_.ic_


Gorgeous dove jewelry tattoo

Gorgeous dove jewelry tattoo by @auua.tattoo


A pair of doves on the back

A pair of doves on the back by @vic.ink_


Bird feather tattoos

When we think about bird tattoos, the most obvious choice is to tattoo a specific bird or a flock of birds. But feather tattoos can also be on your list if you want something simpler or smaller.

Depending on the colors, a feather can have various meanings. For example, a pure white feather may represent a guardian angel, purity, or protection. On the contrary, black feathers may be associated with spirits and death.

And because feathers are light and tend to fly with the wind, they may also represent the connection with a higher self or a light-hearted approach to life.

Different from tattooing a specific bird, feather tattoos let you be free with color palettes and shapes. You can customize it to your favorite tones or tweak it to fit different placements. But it’s also worth noting that feather tattoos have a significant amount of details, which may require time and skills as a realism tattoo.

Black and blue feather tattoo

Black and blue feather tattoo by @_rony_tattoo


Red feather arm tattoo

Red feather tattoo by @hansantattoo


Yin and yang feathers on the forearm

Yin and yang feathers on the forearm  by @ink.feb24


Feather tattoo behind the ear

Feather tattoo behind the ear by @inkhome


If you want a small and discreet tat, consider behind-the-ear tattoos. Slightly long hair on the side will allow you to hide the tattoo when needed.

Magic feather

Magic feather tattoo by @tattooist_coldy


Feathers are sometimes seen in witchy tattoos as they are associated with magic and mysterious power. So if you want something to represent an unknown side of yourself, a feather in dark colors may be a good fit.

Kingfisher bird tattoos with meaning

Judged by the look, a kingfisher might not seem very different from hummingbirds or robins. But their long, dagger-like bills distinguish them from the crowd. These adorable little birds are actually great hunters. They are extremely precise and skillful when it comes to fishing. And that’s how they get their name.

Kingfishers are capable of spotting and targeting fish from high above the sky, which gives them a symbolism of intuition and precision. Despite their small size, they attack prey times larger than themselves without fear. And it makes them a symbol of courage. So if you want a tattoo to honor your strength, bravery, and intuition, kingfisher tattoos might be what you are looking for.

Black and grey realism kingfisher

Black and grey realism kingfisher tattoo by @bartektattoo


Kingfisher shoulder blade tattoo

Kingfisher shoulder blade tattoo by @newtattoo_qiqi


The hunting kingfisher

The hunting kingfisher tattoo by @skininctattoo


Garuda tattoos and symbolism

Unlike what we’ve mentioned above, Garuda is not a bird but a mythical creature in Buddhism and Hinduism. In fact, it’s described as the king of birds. It is depicted as an eagle in the shape of a kite. Or sometimes, it takes on a human form with eagle wings.

In terms of meaning, Garuda has been seen as a symbol of power and speed. It is associated with domination and victory. And because it’s known as the nemesis of snakes, Garuda tattoos function as armor for the wearers, warding off evilness and bad energies.

Intricate Garuda sleeve tattoo

Intricate Garuda sleeve tattoo by @338tattoo


Traditional Garuda symbol nape tattoo

Traditional Garuda symbol nape tattoo by @nadcil


Bold color Garuda

Bold color Garuda tattoo by @triguer.tattoo


Owl tattoo ideas

Owl tattoos are loved for a reason. Firstly, their baby-like big eyes and round face make them adorable. Secondly, they are known to be a symbol of wisdom and intuition, giving owl tattoos a deeper meaning.

Golden moon and owl tattoo

Golden moon and owl tattoo by @jiro_painter


Fine line owl on the back

Fine line owl on the back by @nus.tattoo


Geometric owl tattoo

Geometric owl tattoo by @ohbabytattoostudio


Cute little red owl

Cute little red owl by @tattoocute


Stunning peacock tattoos

Peacocks are no doubt stunning. Their gorgeous, gem-like feathers capture attention. So if you are feeling confident, peacock tattoos are a perfect fit for you.

Besides being an obvious representation of beauty, peacocks also symbolize eliteness and royalty. In ancient times, peacock dance was only accessible to the royals, thus making peacocks a proof of rarity and high social status.

Some people see peacocks as their spirit animals because they represent their inner beauty. Peacocks only display their most glamorous side by spreading their tail feathers. They are a reminder that true beauty is not always seen.

Stunning intricate peacock tattoo

Stunning intricate peacock tattoo by @mooongnyum_tattoo


Diamond peacock on the arm

Diamond peacock on the arm by @thommesen_ink


Peacock feather tattoo

Peacock feather tattoo by @lizardsskintattoos


Flowers and peacock tattoo

Flowers and peacock tattoo by @donghwa_tattoo


Peacock portrait tattoo

Peacock portrait tattoo by @eisenherztattoopiercing


Cute sparrow tattoo

Sparrows might not have the most stunning colors, but their symbolisms make them a widely loved tattoo motif.

A lot like swallows, sparrows have been a protection omen for sailors. Ancient Egyptians thought that sparrows were capable of taking the lost souls of sailors to heaven. But sparrow tattoos can also be a tribute to true love as the birds are monogamous.

Sparrow and Korean norigae tattoo

Sparrow and Korean norigae tattoo by @leean.ink_


Which of these bird tattoos is your favorite?

Share your thoughts in the comment down below!

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