Feather Tattoo Ideas – Guide On Meanings, History and Best Placement

Feather Tattoo Ideas - From Design To Meaning

Tattoo is a highly personal way to express yourself. People get feather tattoos for all kinds of reasons, and the meanings behind them all have significance to each person. They can be a work of art, an important symbol, or a tribute to someone special.

One of the most common types of tattoos is the feather tattoo. Feathers, like the birds they come from, are a spectacular symbol of freedom and beauty. They’re found in all shapes, sizes, and colors. No two feathers are alike, just as no two tattoos are alike.

What is the meaning behind feather tattoos? If you’re thinking of getting one yourself, you might want to learn more about the history and significance behind these feathers. Keep reading on for a full guide to feather tattoos. 

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You might be surprised to learn that many tattoos are more than just a work of art. They’re also part of a rich history of culture and tradition, evolving and growing over time. Tattoos might feel like a modern practice, but this is actually something humans have done for centuries.

One of the most important symbols for many cultures throughout the world is the feather. In ancient Egypt, feathers were a way to represent gods and goddesses. They were seen as a sign from above. This is similar to Native American traditions where feathers were a gift from the sky, given mostly to the best warriors.

In ancient Celtic times, feathers were believed to have mystical powers. Feathers supposedly held the power to take people to different planes of existence, such as the spirit world. They were considered to be medicinal, and they were given as a sign of good luck. They are commonly found in Celtic tattoos, as wel.

Today, feathers still have a huge historical significance. They’re an image many Native American cultures still display with pride, and their meaning has only grown throughout time. Each feather tells its own unique history, and they’ve earned their place in the hearts of many cultures. This makes them a popular choice for tattoos.

Meaning

Feather tattoos have a rich history, but they also have a profound symbolism. To understand where this meaning comes from, take a look at birds. These creatures aren’t confined to the ground. They’re high-flying and free.

Feather tattoos are a sign of this freedom.

It’s a way to show that you’re spreading your own wings and taking flight. Birds don’t fear being high off the ground. They go boldly into the sky. Feathers capture this excitement and free spirit nature, the same as the cherry blossom tattoos, for example.

In many different customs around the globe, feathers are a sign of connection to culture. In Native American and Celtic traditions, feathers strengthened one’s bond with Mother Nature, which is why it’s also a tattoo that many mothers and daughters share. Having a tattoo of a feather is a way to share your love of freedom and nature.

Feather Tattoo Meanings By Bird

No two birds have the same feathers. Depending on the type of bird, the feathers themselves appear vastly different. For instance, the vibrant peacock feature is a symbol of fun and excitement. On the other hand, a dove feather is a sign of heavenly protection and hope.

Each culture will have its own beliefs about different types of feathers. In many Native American traditions, eagle feathers were seen as the ultimate sign of courage. This is because the eagle is a powerful, strong bird. You’ll quickly discover that feather meaning is linked to the birds they come from.

People choose all different types of feather tattoos. Here are the most common types of birds and what their feathers represent:

  • Bird of paradise – These lively, colorful birds have ties to tropical islands. They’re a visual representation of beauty.
  • Cardinals – Cardinals are a symbol associated with Christianity and Christmas. They’re a way to show your passion and vitality.
  • Doves – It’s no surprise that doves are one of the most common bird feather tattoos. Doves are also a symbol of Christianity, and their feathers are a declaration of peace.
  • Eagles – This American icon is a symbol of strength and protection, which makes it a very common choice for a tattoo design for men.
  • Hawks – Hawks are a way to show your bravery and courage since Hawks are excellent hunters.
  • Owls – With their calming demeanor, owls are a symbol of wisdom and truth.
  • Parrots – These talkative birds are known for their colorful feathers. Parrot feather tattoos are a sign of intelligence and companionship.
  • Peacock – While peacocks might be seen as a bird prone to showing off, they’re actually representative of kindness and compassion.
  • Swallow – These birds are commonly found over the sea. Sailors throughout history have viewed swallows as a sign of safe travels. A swallow feather tattoo stands for protection.
  • Swan – Finally, swans are the ideal image of grace and sophistication. Swan feathers symbolize elegance.
Feather Tattoos By Bird

Best Placement of Feather Tattoos

You have a lot of freedom when it comes to where to place your feather tattoo. Because of the flexible shape, you can get away with placing your feather tattoo just about anywhere on your body.

The most common places for a feather tattoo is along the rib cage or on the back. This connects the bird’s feather to the idea of growing your own wings.

In addition, bird feathers are also common on the upper arm and thigh.

Pro tip: Depending on the complexity of details your tattoo will entail, the size of the tattoo will need to be modified. Meaning, if you want an elaborate feather tattoo design, you might need to get a bigger one – which won’t fit on a finger, or your wrist. In that case, you’ll probably have to go for a back tattoo, or a leg tattoo, to make sure it heals and ages well. If it’s a small line work, with little details that you’re after, check out the small tattoo ideas and go for it.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with the placement of your bird feather tattoo!

Feather Tattoo Ideas

Now let’s look at some images of bird feather tattoos done by top tattoo artists all over the world. Find the inspiration you need to create your own tattoo that means something to you. With a rich history of symbolism, you can’t go wrong with this free-flying design.

Are you looking for a custom feather tattoo design? We got you.

Our expert tattoo artists will provide a quick initial draft to get you going.
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Feather Tattoo Ideas and a Guide on Meaning, History and Best Placement
Milena Petrovic

Milena Petrovic

Co-founder of Tattoo Stylist

About the author

Milena has decided to start an organization that will create a safe environment for everybody to get their first, second or third tattoo and to encourage young people to transform their ideas into tattoos safely, with talent and vision.

You can find her writing about tattoos on Quora or updating our Pinterest profile with awesome tattoo ideas!

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