Bird Symbolism and Their Meaning (Popular Birds with Images)

Ever wondered why some cultures see birds as symbols of freedom and beauty?

What about the meaning behind a bird in your dream or what it might mean for you to have one fly into your home?

Throughout history, birds have been long-standing symbols denoting a great many things. As is the case with everything else, however, some of this symbolism has come to change drastically over time.

Let’s take a look at some of the more popular bird species and see what they represent.

What Does Eagle Symbolize?

Eagles are highly synonymous with the concepts of independence, bravery, and freedom.

This is not surprising in the least, seeing as many countries feature the mighty eagle on their flag. Mexico, Egypt, and the United States come to mind.

Eagle

Native Americans hold the eagle in great reverence, going so far as to not even let its feathers get harmed.

An Eagle feather traditionally was considered sacred by many tribes in North America & Europe, mainly due to the eagle’s association with the sky and its ability to fly.

The Eagle is also seen as a symbol of royalty or power because an Eagle has never been captured alive in recorded history!

Eagles are known for their strength, courage, wisdom & almost supernatural abilities. They have high intelligence and can be trained easily by humans (due to their curiosity).

Eagles are excellent parents and have high family values. They mate for life, usually, select mates near to them in the echelon of society (to reduce conflicts), raise a single brood at a time & will take turns caring for young as they mature.

What Does Raven Symbolize?

Cinephiles will know this bird from the classic horror film “The Omen.” If the bird managed to get under your skin, it might have been because ravens are, more often than not, considered a bad omen.

A Raven is a really large crow

In this light, they denote illness and death. Of course, the fact that they’re completely black doesn’t help their case either.

Ravens’ link to everything morbid stems from their behavior as scavengers; they feed on decomposing bodies.

Ravens are often associated with war (particularly a battle’s aftermath) because they scavenge battlefield remains for food.

In some cultures, it was believed that ravens would only bring death or destruction if seen in large numbers during daylight hours.

Interestingly enough, the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations saw the raven as a symbol of light. In this more positive vein, ravens denote guidance and communication as well.

Also read: 13 Interesting Facts About Ravens

What Does Owl Symbolize?

Owls are quite possibly one of the few birds that have cemented their place in pop culture. No matter the species, owls have always been a symbol of wisdom and intelligence.

Great Horned Owl

Moreover, owls are most active at night on account of being nocturnal. Because they boast sharp eyesight and the skills to hunt in the stillness of the night, they are enveloped in mystery.

Like the raven, the owl is also considered a bad omen in some cultures, often linked with destruction.

The ancient Egyptians associated the owl with wisdom and death. They believed that when a person died, he or she would be transformed into an owl after three days as they were viewed as connected to Osiris, god of death in Egyptian mythology.

In some cultures, Owls are seen to represent both good luck and bad luck.

While in many cases they bring omens of death or disaster (particularly for miners), there are also instances where people believe that owls are able to ward off evil.

In Japan, it is believed that if an owl flies over someone’s house and leaves behind a feather then there will be peace in the family for generations.

In Wales, this same superstition has been found but instead of leaving its feathers, it shits little balls which represent good luck charms called “owl eyes”.

Also read: 14 Interesting Owl Facts (most of which you might now know)

What Does Crane Symbolize?

Seeing or dreaming about cranes guarantees prosperity for the individual in question.

What Does Crane Symbolize

Asian cultures hold cranes in high regard. Cranes are caretakers of everything, including healing, hope, positivity, contentment, and luck.

Speaking to the same, cranes enjoy a truly special status in Japanese culture. They believe that folding a thousand paper cranes can make any wish come true. That cranes stand for health, wishes made for the same are encouraged.

The crane is a symbol of good luck, sometimes seen as the bringer of happiness. It’s also used in Japan to represent longevity and wisdom. The white-crested black crane was adopted by Korea from China during the Three Kingdoms period (220 AD) for its strong association with the Chinese crane.

In China, the white-crested black crane is a symbol of longevity and wisdom. It was also adopted by Korea during the Three Kingdoms period (220 AD).

The Crane Dance also has connections to Buddhism, since cranes are considered symbols of good luck and happiness

What Does Cuckoo Symbolize?

Almost everyone knows what a cuckoo clock sounds like. Did you know the sound a cuckoo makes communicates a message?

What Does Cuckoo Symbolize

If a cuckoo makes a sound, drop whatever you’re doing and try to figure out what direction the sound is coming from.

If they’re emanating from the right, chances are good news is on the horizon. Be warned, however, that if the sound is coming from the left, it could spell trouble.

That said, this symbolism seems to rest on the brink of superstition, so perhaps there’s a lot more to the cuckoo.

Cuckoo symbolizes caring, nurturing, and motherly instincts. It also symbolizes a female who is full of energy with an emotional side to her nature.

Cuckoos are also said to symbolize prophetic insight and awareness.

It is believed that the cuckoo was a sacred bird in ancient Greece, as it represented motherhood and nurturing instincts.

The word “Cuculidae” is an old Latin term that means “the family of birds who cry like a cuckoo.” It is also a term for the cuckoo family of birds.

Some cultures have historically called the cuckoo an omen of evil, doom, and death. In parts of India it is believed that when a person dies, their soul lives on in the form of a bird and can be seen as one like this species.

What Does Magpie Symbolize?

Much like owls and ravens, magpies are perceived to be good and bad omens as well.

What Does magpie Symbolize

Magpies are often used as a symbol of the bringer or bearer of good luck, and they’re also seen as symbolic to people with chronic illnesses.

According to the Chinese, magpies come bearing great happiness and fortune. More specifically, they represent marital bliss. To that end, they also embody the concept of love.

The ancient Roman civilization honored the magpie, believing it symbolized intellect and reasoning.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, these birds stand for underhandedness and deceit

The sound that magpies make is thought to be lucky and their quick movements remind us not to get too comfortable in our lives.

Magpie symbolism can represent telling someone who’s been feeling unlucky to look for the small moments of joy in their life and also reminds us not to get too comfortable.

The Magpie is a symbol of wisdom, intelligence, intuition, and knowledge- often associated with goddesses like Athena or Minerva. And just as they’re interested in shiny objects (like coins) so are we when it comes to intellectual pursuits.

Magpies are also associated with the lore of death and the afterlife. Magpie has been seen as a bird that is able to carry messages from the otherworld, which can represent something in your life you need to let go of or it’s time to move on.

What Does Dove Symbolize?

These birds have more of a global significance when it comes to their association with peace.

Being the gentle creatures they are, these birds are also shown to carry an olive branch in their beaks. For those who don’t know, this signifies peacemaking efforts.

Dove

Doves are a positive symbol, through and through. Many people also get tattoos of the bird if they seek peace and healing on a personal level.

Dove is a symbol of peace, purity, and love. In Christianity, the dove becomes an important icon for the Holy Spirit. It can also be seen as enlightening or inspirational in some cases.

The name Dove comes from Middle English ‘doue’ which means ‘white bird’.

Doves are often associated with love and romance.

Placing a dove in the wedding bouquet is said to bring peace, happiness, and good fortune to the couple’s marriage.

What Does Stork Symbolize?

Storks enjoy long lives, and because of this, they have come to symbolize the same.

Additionally, they also stand for maternal love and affection, as well as luck. Whoever happens to see a stork should feel blessed.

What Does Crane Symbolize

That storks stand for mothers’ love is reflective of the story about them delivering babies.

Storks have a variety of meanings in many different cultures. In general, storks are seen as symbols of good luck and prosperity.

The ancient Greeks believed that the presence of this bird was an indication to celebrate with feasting because it meant fertility would be thriving over the coming year.

There’s also folklore out there about how if you see a stork, it’s an indication that someone is expecting.

Storks are also seen as symbols of love and family in different cultures such as the Slavic culture where they represent caring for others.

They’re often depicted on signs welcoming guests into homes with their babies tucked under their wings to keep them safe from harm. In many cultures, storks are also seen as a protector of children.

In China, it’s considered bad luck to kill a stork or harm its eggs and it’s also bad luck to injure them in any way.

There is a superstition from China where if there are two storks nesting together, this means good fortune for those who live nearby.

In Japan, they’re the symbol of marriage or some people believe that if you see one then your love will be coming soon.

What Does Blackbird Symbolize?

Small and dainty, blackbirds symbolize beauty and wisdom. Even though blackbirds are black all over like the raven, they are not linked to the macabre.

Instead, they are a sign of protection and comfort.

Blackbird

Some people also make a connection between blackbirds and humor because they are intelligent birds.

If they had the ability to speak, they would probably have a sharp tongue.

In some cultures, blackbird feathers were used in ceremonial masks worn by warriors who had died in battle as a way to honor them.

In many cultures, blackbirds represent the souls of the dead.

The merry song that these birds make is a symbol of happiness in some areas and they have also been associated with victorious heroes returning home to their wives.

What Does Bluebird Symbolize?

Bluebirds are also symbolic of humility, toil, and innocence.

Beautiful as ever, bluebirds are harbingers of all things happy and enlightening.

Bluebird

Anyone who happens to see a bluebird should thank their lucky stars. This means good times are just around the corner.

It’s also considered lucky or fortunate, and it means that you’re destined for success.

In some traditions, the bluebird can represent faithfulness and loyalty to one’s partner in marriage.

The bluebird is also a symbol of boldness. People will use color to express their feelings when they are feeling daring or courageous enough to do something that’s outside of their comfort zone.

What Does Bluejay Symbolize?

They may not look the part, but bluejays can get territorial when it comes to protecting their young.

Bluejay

Small-bodied yet aggressive bluebirds will attack anyone who poses a threat.

Bluebirds are symbolic of courage, especially in the face of adversity. Furthermore, bluebirds also stand for the ultimate in protection.

They can and will save another at the risk of their own life.

The bluebird is also symbolic of happiness. The bird brings to mind the spring, a time when all things are new and fresh again.

It’s no coincidence that in many folktales around the world–particularly those associated with death or winter–the appearance of a bluebird heralds joyous news.

Parents hope for their return, children look for them on their birthdays, and they are considered a sign of good luck in many parts of the world.

Bluejays also symbolize creativity because that is what this bird does best–use its imagination to create new ideas and things.

Finally, bluejay stands for intelligence as it’s one of the smartest birds around with the ability to create new tools and make plans.

What Does Falcon Symbolize?

Talking about falcons conjures up similar imagery as that which pertains to eagles.

Falcons are one of the most well-known and popular birds.

Falcon

They have been seen as symbols throughout human history, with a wide range of meanings depending on where they’re found in the world.

They are relentless creatures that stand for wisdom, protection, and farsightedness. It is their innate nature to hunt. Falcons stay strong in times of great adversity and challenges.

These resilient birds also showcase strength, resolve, and victory during wars.

If seen in dreams, falcons act as messengers bringing messages that relate to the dreamer.

In Ancient Egypt, images of a falcon would be included on sarcophagi as symbols for protection from evil spirits.

In Japan, people admired these birds because they were seen as guardians against natural calamities such as earthquakes.

In Christianity, the falcon is seen as a symbol of Jesus Christ’s ascension to heaven and victory over death.

In Western culture, this bird represents strength in battle or violent conflict because its prey would be captured through a powerful strike from above with its talons outstretched.

Falcons also represent good fortune due to their swiftness and agility.

What Does Hawk Symbolize?

Birds of prey, hawks have amazing vision. It is due to this fact that they have become a symbol of sharp-sightedness and intellect.

Hawk

Seeing a hawk in your dreams might mean that you are living a life aligned with your true calling. The appearance of a hawk is a symbol of support in this context.

A hawk is a symbol of power, strength, and courage because it’s able to take down even the most ferocious animals in its way.

A hawk also symbolizes protection for children as they are often seen nesting on top of homes or keeping watch over us from high up in tree canopies.

A hawk is considered a symbol of the sun because it flies so high up in the sky and can see everything from on high, swooping down to grab its prey at any moment. It also has strong associations with knowledge, truth, and justice as many cultures believed them to be messengers of these virtues sent by their gods.

A hawk is usually seen as a guardian for children or someone who needs protection, such as an elderly person.

When perched on top of one’s home or sitting high up in trees, the hawk guards over us from high up in the sky and can see everything, swooping down to grab its prey at any moment.

What Does Cardinal Symbolize?

We know cardinals to be the most beautiful shade of red. Red is a color most closely associated with love and passion.

Not surprisingly, the cardinal represents loyalty and faithfulness.

Cardinal Bird

Like the bluebird, cardinals are also bearers of good news. Some Christian denominations believe the red of the cardinal is symbolic of the blood of Jesus Christ. Building upon the same, the cardinal becomes a symbol of God’s love for all creation.

The Cardinal bird is symbolic of love, faithfulness, and constancy. It represents a yearning for something beautiful or unattainable in life.

The cardinal’s song stands as one representation of the feeling that beauty will come to those who have patience and wait through difficult times.

On an individual level, the cardinal is symbolic of self-reliance and independence. The bird’s striking red feathers represent courage, determination, and a sense of adventure. It can also signify passion or intensity in some situations.

What Does Condor Symbolize?

Called the king of the Andes, condors are intimidating. Thus, they are a symbol of strong leadership. Additionally, these birds also represent wisdom, foresight, justice, and fairness.

Condor bird

Condors are revered in several countries in the South American continent. Seen while awake, condors represent clarity of thought. In dreams, however, they are symbolic of lies.

The condor is a symbol of strength and guidance. It has the power to transcend space, time, place, or circumstance in order to get back on its feet again; it can free itself from any kind of worldly dross including physical obstacles.

Condors are seen as a symbol of prosperity and luck because they represent virtue that does not decay.

In the Andes region, a condor is often used in religious ceremonies to represent an elusive or lost soul because it has been seen as possessing great knowledge and can thus give advice to those who consult hermits on spiritual matters.

Condors were also venerated by Inca priests for their ability of flight which was seen as a symbol for spiritual ascension.

Essentially, the condor is an emblem of spirituality and transcendence that flies above worldly concerns.

In Mesoamerica, there are several stories about how humans were created by gods in bird form; one such story tells us that it was two immortal spirits (a male and female) who transformed into condors and then copulated.

It was believed that the offspring of these two great birds would contain the essence of immortality, thus linking this sense to the bird symbol.

In South American culture, there is a popular myth about how once every 500 years one or more condor descend from heaven in order to cleanse our planet by eating all the dead human flesh.

What Does Crow Symbolize?

It’s not comforting to know that a group of crows is called a “murder.” Given this scary tidbit, it only makes sense that crows are symbolic of death.

Crow

Crows are smart birds and are even known to toy with people. These pranksters are clever enough to hold grudges and differentiate between human faces. Yes, you read that right.

If someone sees a crow, it means that bad luck will befall them soon.

If someone sees a crow, it means that bad luck will befall them soon. The crow is also a symbol of the seers and oracles (people who see visions).

A flock of crows can be seen as an omen that something bad will happen to someone in the near future.

This may come from their habit of roosting on power lines, where they are often electrocuted by lightning strikes.

Crows are also symbols of change and transition. In some cultures, a crow’s arrival to someone’s house signifies the birth of a child or that they will be moving soon.

They also symbolize the darkness within one’s self and their desire to bring justice into the world by finding out what is hidden from them.

Also read: How to Attract Crows to Your Backyard (12 Effective Ways)

What Does Goose Symbolize?

If a goose hasn’t chased you, consider yourself lucky.

Goose

Geese are packed with aggression. There have been several instances where they’ve even acted out against humans.

In nature, geese are usually observed to be in groups. This speaks to their dedication to others.

On the positive side, geese are widely known to be symbols of courage. There are a few people, however, to whom they represent lethargy.

The goose is representative of many things, but primarily it symbolizes good luck and prosperity.

The origins of this symbolism are uncertain.

One possible explanation for the popularity may be that geese were seen as a sign of abundance because they can produce large quantities of eggs in their nests at one time.

In some parts of Europe, a goose is viewed as a symbol of peace because they are generally less aggressive than most birds in that region.

What Does Hummingbird Symbolize?

Hummingbirds always seem to be in a rush. Agile and quick, they can captivate onlookers like it’s nobody’s business.

Hummingbird

These hardworking hummingbirds symbolize happiness, luck, and love. Among Native American tribes, hummingbirds are also believed to heal the one who sees them.

A hummingbird is a symbol of hope and renewal. They are also considered as symbols of joy, love, and happiness.

The hummingbird’s color varies from shades of red to green with an iridescent sheen that reflects the rainbow colors at times.

The word “humming” comes from the sound they make when flying which is also a symbol of happiness.

They are the only bird that can fly backward, which is said to make them feel lucky and blessed.

What Does Flamingo Symbolize?

There are very few people who have seen a flamingo and not been taken by its beauty.

Flamingo standing on one leg

Flamingos grow up to be the most beautiful pink, even though they are a dull grey when they hatch. This color is because of their diet.

The synchronized show a group of flamingos can put on is a treat for the eyes.

It wouldn’t be tough at this point to hazard a guess as to what these graceful birds represent.

That’s right; flamingos symbolize poise, beauty, and grace. More often than not, they are also linked to guidance. They also serve as a reminder to live a full, content life.

In dreams, flamingos signal unresolved emotions urging the dreamer to let them go.

Also read: What Do Flamingos Eat?

What Does Parrot Symbolize?

These chatty birds represent playfulness, friendliness, and communication. These are the qualities they embrace which is why they have become associated with the same.

Parrot

Moreover, parrots are also symbolic of positivity and happiness.

In Peru, some villages use green-winged parrots in their religious ceremonies and believe that these birds are able to talk with the gods.

They often pet them on the head as a sign of respect or will feed them by hand using whole corn kernels which are also used for human consumption in Peru.

Also read: What's the Difference Between a Parrot and a Parakeet?

Summing Up

Even though this article has covered quite a few birds and symbols, there are surely others that hold a lot of importance in subcultures worldwide.

Who knows; even the species covered here may very well mean something entirely different to someone else!

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