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Bird Symbolism

Bird Symbolism

Birds are awesome! People have thought they were symbols for a bunch of different things for like, forever. Birds can fly, which is super cool. No wonder humans have thought they were special since ancient times. They’re majestic and free, soaring through the skies. Birds have been a big part of myths, religions, and cultures all over the world.

Way Back When


In ancient Egypt, they thought falcons symbolized the kings and pharaohs because they were powerful rulers of the sky. But ibis birds meant wisdom to them. The ibis was the bird for their god of writing and scribes who were mad smart.

Greek Myths

Those Greek myths had some weird bird symbols. The Greeks said the owl symbolizes wisdom because it was sacred to Athena, the goddess of wisdom. She must’ve thought owls were genius birds. But the Romans thought eagles symbolized Zeus, the biggest god, and meant strength. I guess eagles are huge and powerful.

Native Americans Knew What’s Up

For Native American tribes, the eagle was a huge symbol of strength since it could soar so high above everything. And hawks with their crazy sharp eyesight symbolized having spiritual visions and being enlightened. Those tribes seriously respected birds.

Asian Myths Has The Best Birds

In Chinese myths, the mythical phoenix bird symbolizes rebirth and the emperor because it was so powerful. But in Japan, cranes were a big deal and meant long life and good fortune. Japan must’ve had a lot of cranes.

Religious Stuff


In Christianity, white doves mean peace and the Holy Spirit. They’re always getting released at ceremonies. But powerful eagles are all about strength, like for St. John the apostle.


There’s this cool story about the hoopoe bird in the Quran holy book. It’s a symbol of being wise and spiritually enlightened. Hoopoes must be the smart kids of the bird world.


Swans are pure, graceful, and elegant in Hinduism, linked to the god Brahma who created the universe. But the bright, colorful peacock symbolizes beauty and even the whole universe itself!


This garuda bird creature is super important in Buddhism. It means reaching enlightenment finally and beating ignorance. The garuda’s probably the wisest bird of them all.

Art and Books

Writers and artists have used bird symbols forever to express all kinds of meanings. Like that bizarre albatross in the poem is both good luck and bad luck somehow. And Persian poets wrote all these romantic lines about nightingales to symbolize love and beauty.

In Renaissance art from a long time ago, painters put peacocks in their paintings and artwork to symbolize beauty and vanity. But later on, during that Art Nouveau movement, artists used a ton of bird designs and motifs as symbols for nature and freedom.

Today’s Bird Symbols

Country Pride

These days, a lot of countries have national birds as symbols of pride. The bald eagle is America’s national bird, meaning freedom and strength as it soars. While in India, their national bird is the bright, colorful peacock for beauty and grace.

Save The Planet!

Birds can also symbolize saving the environment. Canaries used to be sent into coal mines to test for toxic gases, so they became known as symbols of environmental dangers. Now endangered birds like the California condor symbolize why we need to protect wildlife and their habitats.

Personal Meanings

For some people, birds hold personal symbolic meanings based on their cultures. Some Native American tribes believe each person has a spirit animal guide, and birds can represent traits like wisdom, freedom, or creativity. Bird tattoos and drawings are also super popular for their personal symbolic meanings.

Types of Birds And Their Meanings

Here’s a list of different types of birds and their symbolic meanings:

  1. Eagle – Strength, courage, vision, freedom, power
  2. Falcon – Spiritual vision, victory, honor
  3. Owl – Wisdom, intuition, vision, truth
  4. Dove – Peace, love, gentleness, fertility
  5. Phoenix – Rebirth, renewal, immortality
  6. Peacock – Beauty, pride, royalty, watchfulness
  7. Swan – Grace, beauty, loyalty, purity
  8. Crane – Longevity, good fortune, fidelity
  9. Raven – Mystery, transformation, intelligence
  10. Hawk – Vision, truth, opportunity, resourcefulness
  11. Hummingbird – Joy, love, beauty, energizing
  12. Nightingale – Love, romance, artist expression
  13. Pelican – Sacrifice, generosity, atonement
  14. Stork – Fertility, fidelity, parenting
  15. Rooster – Courage, pride, watchfulness
  16. Canary – Good cheer, freedom, environmental awareness
  17. Seagull – Freedom, wanderlust, spirituality
  18. Mockingbird – Creativity, adaptability, trickster
  19. Flamingo – Beauty, balance, confidence
  20. Albatross – Good luck, burden, freedom

Birds symbolize many different spiritual, cultural, and personal concepts based on their characteristics, behaviors, and how they are depicted across various mythologies, religions, and artistic traditions.

The Bottom Line

Birds have meant so many different symbolic things across cultures all over the world – freedom, spirituality, wisdom, power, beauty, you name it. Learning what they symbolize helps us appreciate how amazing and diverse different societies are and why humans have always loved and admired birds. From Egyptian pharaohs to modern environmentalists, birds will probably symbolize cool stuff forever.