17 Most Prominent Bird Symbols And Their Meanings

Are you looking for the most prominent bird symbols and their meanings?

Birds have a distinct and captivating appeal, leading to the development of a widespread and cherished hobby centered around observing them.

As they are found on every continent, these winged creatures have been a consistent part of human civilizations across history. As a result, various cultures have bestowed significant symbolism upon different bird species.

In general, birds symbolize broad concepts such as love and freedom. The act of flight, inherent to birds, is often associated with the boundless realms of imagination and the endless possibilities they represent.

Let’s check out the most prominent birds that serve as significant symbols in numerous cultures across the globe.

17 Most Prominent Bird Symbols And Their Meanings

17 Most Prominent Bird Symbols And Their Meanings

1. Phoenix

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

The phoenix is a mythical bird that dies through fire but gets reborn from its own ashes after a span of 500 years. This cycle of death and resurrection makes the phoenix symbolic of immortality, resurrection, and the concept of life after death.

In ancient Greek and Egyptian mythology, the phoenix is closely connected to the sun god, further emphasizing its association with renewal and eternal life.

2. Eagle

Image by Ricardo Mangual, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Eagles hold a sacred and revered position among Native Americans, who attribute them with great significance. It is believed that the claws and bones of these majestic birds possess the power to protect against illness.

Furthermore, as the emblem of the United States, the bald eagle symbolizes qualities of resilience, self-reliance, and bravery.

3. Dove

White Dove Symbol of New beginning
Image by Ted Rabbitts , CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In Christianity, the dove holds great significance as a powerful symbol of the Holy Spirit and God’s love for humanity. An iconic example is the dove that descended upon Jesus during his baptism, representing divine presence and affirmation.

Doves are also linked with hope, as demonstrated by the dove that came back to Noah’s ark carrying an olive branch, signifying the end of the devastating flood and the arrival of new beginnings.

The dove is also representative of romance, primarily due of its association with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, who is commonly depicted with doves fluttering around her or perched on her hand.

4. Raven


For centuries, ravens have been highly esteemed by sailors, particularly Viking explorers, due to their extraordinary skill in navigation and locating land.

Also, in numerous cultures, ravens are linked to the anticipation of death and the spread of disease, serving as omens of impending doom.

According to folklore, these intelligent birds possess an exceptionally sharp sense of smell, allowing them to detect the scent of death even before its arrival.

5. Stork

Image by Charles J. Sharp , CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Storks are widely regarded as symbols of good luck, particularly in relation to the delivery of babies. They hold significant symbolism representing rebirth, new life, and fresh beginnings, both physically and spiritually.

Storks are also often associated with the notions of home, hearth, and protection, symbolizing the nurturing and safeguarding aspects of life.

6. Bluebird

Image by Blalonde, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The bluebird is a symbol of happiness in various cultures globally, representing hope in Russia and serving as a messenger of knowledge and enlightenment in China’s Shang Dynasty. 

However, some interpretations view bluebirds as a link between the living and the departed, symbolizing spiritual communication.

7. Falcon

Falcons are renowned for their exceptional hunting prowess, denoting strength and agility.

They are often associated with vision, representing keen insight, foresight, and clarity. They are also seen as protectors, guarding and defending their territories and loved ones.

Additionally, falcons are regarded as symbols of wisdom, intelligence, discernment, and strategic thinking in various cultures and belief systems.

8. Cuckoos

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Throughout Europe, the arrival of cuckoos is eagerly welcomed as a joyous symbol of the arrival of spring. This event is not only celebrated for its association with the changing season but also seen as a positive omen, signifying the potential for a harmonious and joyful union between two people.

9. Lark

Image by Morhaf Aljanee, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The lark is symbolically linked to traits of humility and modesty due to its unassuming nature and its simple and unpretentious song.

Within the context of the Bible, the symbolism of the lark not only serves as a reminder of the virtues of humility but also the importance of keeping a modest and grounded disposition.

10. Blackbird

Image by Andreas Trepte, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

The blackbird symbol is occasionally connected to temptation and sin. In specific circumstances, it has been associated with the actions of the devil. This interpretation arises from cultural and religious beliefs that attribute darker or negative connotations to the appearance or behavior of blackbirds.

11. Partridge

Image by Subhajit Chaudhuri, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The partridge is a bird in the Bible that carries a dual symbolism. On one hand, the partridge is associated with cunning and deception. This negative aspect reflects the bird’s reputation for craftiness. On the other hand, the partridge is also linked to nurturing and protective qualities. This positive aspect highlights the partridge’s dedication to its offspring and serves as a metaphor for caring and watchfulness.

The duality of symbolism surrounding the partridge in the Bible reflects the complexity of its representation and illustrates how different traits can be attributed to the same bird.

12. Blue Jay

Blue Jay
Image by Jocelyn Anderson, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The symbolism attributed to blue jays highlights their multifaceted nature and the various positive traits they represent.

Blue jays are commonly regarded as symbols of independence and strength, connoting a sense of self-reliance and resilience. They can also be seen as representatives of qualities such as kindness, selflessness, and honesty.

13. Crane

Tsuru- Japanese crane
Image by Rawpixel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The crane, with its majestic stature and impressive flight, carries the symbolism of power and strength, while also representing good fortune and long life.

The crane’s monogamous nature, on the other hand, establishes it as a symbol of loyalty and permanence.

In Japanese culture, the art of origami often intertwines with the crane, emphasizing its significance and serving as a visual representation of these symbolic meanings.

14. Crow

symbol of death

Depending on which part of the world you’re in, crow holds both positive and negative symbolisms. These birds are viewed as both good and bad omens.

In today’s Western society, crows represent things associated with death, the afterlife, wisdom, intelligence, adaptability, foresight, luck, fate, transformation, and the future.

15. Owl

Image by safaritravelplus, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

This bird is viewed by many as a symbol of bad luck and even death. This stems from the myth that hearing an owl hoot three times brings misfortune.

Another unfounded belief suggests that owls are the only creatures capable of coexisting with ghosts.

Ancient Chinese philosophy, however, recognizes the owl as a powerful totem that could attract prosperity and good luck.

16. Peacock

Peacock Feathers
Image by Noel Reynolds, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The peacock, with its distinct beauty, serves as a versatile symbol associated with power, strength, confidence, serenity, luxury, vanity, and also divinity.

Christians adopted this bird as a representation of eternal life, influenced by an old tale suggesting that the peacock’s flesh did not decay. The peacock is also linked to the resurrection of Christ, as it sheds its old feathers and regrows newer, more vibrant plumage each year.

17. Cardinal

Image by Rhododendrites, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In Native American lore, cardinals are seen as representative of devotion, loving relationships, courtship, and monogamy. Different tribes attributed various interpretations to these birds, with some considering them as omens of rain, while others associated them with good fortune and the sun.

It’s also said that the presence of cardinals signifies the proximity of angels and serves as a symbol for departed loved ones. They are regarded as messengers from Heaven, bringing words of love and solace during challenging moments.

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