Birds symbolize freedom, power, messengers or carriers, transcendence, death, war, wisdom, life and death, and deities.
Blackbird - good omens, magic, shyness, insecurity, and enchantment.
Crow - guardian, carrier of souls, magic, trickery, thievery, cunning, boldness, eloquence, destiny, intelligence, swiftness, sacred law, and mysticism.
Dove - peace, purity, love, prophecy, gentleness, the Holy Spirit, and tranquility.
Eagle - swiftness, strength, courage, power, intelligence, wisdom, vision, healing, triumph, prosperity, and creation.
Goose - parenthood, luck, innocence, travels, fertility, productiveness, loyalty, teamwork, fellowship, communication, call of the quest, and cooperation.
Hawk - observance, guardianship, wisdom, illumination, truth, experience, creativity, nobility, messenger
Heron - good omens, self-reliance, and determination.
Hummingbird - messenger, joy, beauty, time, and swiftness.
Owl - silence, swiftness, keen sight, freedom, magical, watchfulness, patience, night, and intuition.
Peacock - birth, pride, spring, prestige, and resurrection. Peacock feathers were once thought to be evil because they resembled an eye.
Raven - healing, magic, divination, wisdom, eloquence, teaching, guidance, death, bad luck, shape shifting, and prophecy.
Robin - growth, joy, hope, happiness, good luck, and song.
Sparrow - intelligence, gentleness, companionship, hope, common nobility, and fertility. The sparrow is the bird of the full harvest moon.
Swan - emotions, sensitivity, dreams, true beauty, transformation, empathy, grace, innocence, balance, purity, union, and love.
Woodpecker - prophecy, magic, guardian of trees, and rhythm.
This bird is from Philippine mythology. It is said to be the first creature in the universe, making it part of a creation mythology.
Adar Llwch Gwin
This is a large Welsh bird that know all languages and are loyal servants to their masters.
This bird belongs to Chilean mythology. Its wings shine and it brings luck to miners who see it. They emerge in the desert at night and act as light. However, this bird can also lead greedy miners to their deaths. It eats silver and gold, thus being a subject for miners to search for as the birds have these precious metals in their nests. It looks like a vulture, but it much larger.
From Russian folklore, this bird has the head of a woman and makes beautiful sounds. When its eggs hatch, a storm comes over the ocean. It sometimes has human arms. Hearing this bird’s song will make a person forget about everything else.
Ara and Irik
In East Indian mythology, Ara and Irik were two birds involved in a creation myth. They took two eggs from the water and made the sky and the earth with them.
Also known as alerion or the king of the birds
The avalerion is a mythological bird from Indian mythology. At any given time, only two of these birds exist. They lay a pair of eggs every sixty years, which take sixty days to hatch. After they hatch, the parents drown themselves. Other birds care for the newly hatched birds until they can fly.
In European heraldry, the avalerion is a heraldic eagle known as the king of the bird. Avalerions are depicted as having no beak and no legs, or sometimes feathery stumps.
It is said to resemble an eagle, but is larger, has sharp razor-like wings, and is the color of fire.
Also known as Bennu
Benu is from Egyptian mythology and modeled after the heron. The bird has two white feathers on either side of its head and wears either the crown of Osiris or of Ra.This bird often represents Ra (a sun god) because it is associated with the sun. Benu is a central part of creation mythologies. Benu is a symbol of rebirth.
This is a white bird that can sense death, as it refused to look at anyone who was dying. However, it can also take away the sickness from others and heal them. This bird is from Roman mythology.
From Chinese mythology, this phoenix is highly respected and represents yin and yang. It has a swallow’s face, but a rooster’s beak and a snake’s neck. Some say the Feng Huang resembles a peacock. This bird is often paired with the dragon.
Also known as Zhar-Ptitsa
The appearance of the firebird is just as the name suggests: red, orange, yellow, and glowing. Most stories about the firebird include a hero on a quest to find the bird’s feathers. The firebird gives hope to those in need and it is said pearls drop from its beak. This bird has the ability to restore health. It is often seen sitting on a golden perch and eats golden apples.
This bird comes from Jewish mythology and is immortal. Like a phoenix, it is destroyed in fire and then reborn as a full-grown hoyl bird in an egg. Its immortality was granted when Adam and Eve offered fruit to the animals. The hoyl bird was the only one that refused.
Also known as homa or the bird of paradise
The huma is a bird belonging to Persian mythology. This bird’s shadow is said to bring good luck to anyone who touches it (this detail varies). The huma is both male and female, dedicating a leg and wing to each gender. The huma flies incessantly and some say it has no legs.
The huma dies in fire and rises again in the ashes, just as a phoenix does. Some say eggs are laid in mid-air and hatched during the fall.
This bird has reptilian skin and comes from African mythology. This bird often dove from the sky and attacked passengers on boats to drown them. Looking into its eyes would anger the bird and guarantee death. It is said to be the size of an eagle.
Also known as Ouzelum
This bird is from British and Australian folklore. This bird flies backwards because while it does not know where it is going, it likes to know where it has been. This bird has colorful plumage and can be compared to an ostrich, but is smaller. Also like the ostrich, this bird buries its head when threatened, though not in sand.
The owlman is an urban legend of Cornwall. He is an owl-like humanoid with red eyes who preys on young women. America’s mothman is its counterpart.
Also known as Rukh
This bird comes from Middle Eastern mythology. It was a massive bird similar to an eagle, though it had a forked tongue and sharp teeth. The size of the bird is said to be so large it can carry off an elephant.
SUPERSTITIONS & MYTHS
- An owl that circles a house three times is said to be a sign that someone within the house will die soon.
- It is said robins gained their red feathers because they attempted to remove the thorn crown from Jesus’s head, but his blood fell on the bird instead.
- It is unlucky to kill a robin.
- The eye on a peacock feather is said to be the “evil eye” and therefore bad luck to bring inside a home.
- There are countless superstitions about birds near homes and windows that signify oncoming death.
- Tip your hat at a magpie to avoid back luck.
- It’s unlucky to kill sparrows because they carry the souls of the dead.
- A crow at the window represents the soul of a dead person.
- A nearby robin carries the soul of a deceased family member.