Decipher Feather Tattoo Meaning: Everything You Need To Know

Whether you want to conceal a body part that makes you self-conscious, express inner thoughts and feelings, or simply experiment with autonomy over the body, having your skin inked is a great choice. Not only is a tattoo visually pleasing, but it is also a personal statement that helps you stand out.

However, choosing the right design for tattoos is no easy task. While some people opt for something niche and customized, others prefer a common blueprint that conveys the hidden message right away. 

If you are looking for the former, why not check out the feather tattoo meaning and see if it fits your style?

Feather Tattoo Meaning

Feather Tattoo Meaning: Everything You Need To Know

Feather mostly comes from birds and other high-flying animals. Therefore, it is a testament to the ability to soar into the sky regardless of challenges and doubts, as well as a flair for freedom and excitement. 

Sometimes, bird feathers reflect the departed and losses in life, similar to how birds fly to an unknown destination. 

But it does not end here. If you dig deeper into various species, you will realize their feathers offer diverse connotations, varying from one kind of bird to another.


Peacock is best known for its colorful tail, which transpires awe and amazement. A peacock feather represents luxury, extravagance, or stunning beauty. 

Women having peacock feather tattoos can use it as a means to assert their self-acceptance, self-awareness, and the desire to be considered feminine and elegant.


Cardinals are heavily associated with the Church, so its feather is seen as a display of spirituality, enlightenment, and ideals. In some cases, the red color is affiliated with romantic love, passion, and exuberance. 

If you see a person having a cardinal feather tattoo, chances are they are bold, ardent, and desirous.


Swan is the epitome of elegance and delicacy, and so are its feathers. A swan feather tattoo emphasizes style, grace, and charming energy.


Swallows are the bringer of springs, but they are also tied to sailing. Hence, a swallow tattoo feather can either be used as a token for protection or a sign of rebirth, discovery, and exploration. Sailors tend to have swallow tattoos to ask for blessings of safety when they travel on the sea.

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Eagle is a bird of physical strength and leadership

Eagles are often regarded as leading birds which explains why their feathers are symbolic of honor, competence, strength, bravery, and assertiveness. 

While it is a popular design for men, many women still have their skin inked in the form of eagle feathers to command respect and embrace courage.


To some extent, hawks are similar to eagles in terms of their core values, namely virility and fortitude. But hawks are also excellent hunters, making their feathers come off as more aggressive and belligerent. 


Turkey plumage is reflective of pride, fertility, potency, and fruitfulness. You may come across this pattern rather frequently among the Native Americans, who place great value on this bird.


Doves are the universal symbol of peace. A dove feather tattoo delivers a message of gentleness, grace, and harmony. 

But do not forget that doves are often seen as the bird form of angels. Therefore, a dove feather tattoo can also refer to purity, divinity, and enlightenment. 


In many cultures, owls are an animal of wisdom. Athena – goddess of wisdom in Greek myths – always has an owl by her side. The Native Americans consider owls a protector of knowledge and understanding. 

Thus, an owl feather is a testament to astuteness, intelligence, acumen, and a desire to learn. 

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A phoenix feather tattoo easily stands out on your skin

Being a mythical bird does not dim the appeal of the phoenix towards tattoo-lovers. Due to the ability to burn to death in flames and get reborn from its own ashes, a phoenix feather focuses on rebirth, reincarnation, and renewal. It also reflects triumph and healing. 


While this type of bird is indeed talkative and chatty, a parrot feather does not mean to imply so about the person having it. Instead, parrot feather tattoos symbolize beginnings, happiness, and companionship. 

Infinity feather tattoo

As the name already indicates, an infinity feather tattoo emphasizes the never-ending cycle of time and the notion of forever. 

Dream catcher feather tattoo


Dream catchers are believed to filter nightmares and only let good dreams come through. They are usually made with feathers and other decorative objects to enhance their beauty. 

If you spot a dream catcher feather tattoo, it likely means the person is seeking protection, care, and shelter.

Arrow and feather tattoo

Arrow represents going forward and striking despite difficulties. It also alludes to hunting activities when combined with feathers. A tattoo including both an arrow and a feather can be associated with vigor, toughness, and a strong will.

Which Body Parts Are The Best For Feather Tattoos?


If you prefer small-sized, delicate feather tattoos that do not come off as too showy, inking them on your wrist is a wise choice. It is particularly common among women to have wrist tattoos, as they can easily flaunt the tattoo in daily activities. You might want a string of feathers wrapping around, or a single feather will suffice. 

But still, remember that inking on wrists can be excruciating due to the lack of muscle and the relatively thin skin.


Ankles are not much different from wrists. They are usually hidden from others and are an intimate body part, making it ideal for you to get deeply personal with your feather tattoo design. 

Furthermore, having a tattoo on your ankle saves you from lengthy explanations if you ever come into a social occasion that requires professionalism. 


The forearm is big enough to host intricate, large feather tattoos. If you want to ink a flock of feathers, then this is the place to go. Given the visibility of the forearm, make sure your tattoo is not offensive or inappropriate.


The spine on your back gives ground for plenty of feather-inspired tattoos, like arrows and feathers, or a flock of birds following a leader. Combine the straight line of the spine with your own ideas and see how it pans out.

Behind the ear 


Having a feather tattoo behind the ear is a habit mostly found in women. This location is small, discreet, and feminine but still capable of expressing your grace and style. The small area means your tattoo should be tiny enough to fit in.

How To Choose The Right Feather Tattoo Design

Consider the skin area

Each body part has a different size and is suitable for different types of tattoos. If you want to ink on your leg, you might want a big, complicated design to show off. But on your fingers, it must be minuscule enough. 

And do not forget about your pain tolerance. Having a tattoo on places with lots of muscle and thick skin might be a piece of cake, but performing a similar procedure on your wrist can end up agonizing.

Consider the meaning

You do not want a random, nonsensical tattoo permanently inked on your body, do you? Even a feather comes with various meanings, so you need to spend some time evaluating what kind of messages you wish to convey.

Consider the color

Colors are not merely about aesthetics, but they sometimes have a connotation as well. For example, a black feather can either mean grieving and mourning or authority and leadership. White feathers demonstrate innocence, serenity, and peace. At the same time, red feathers are a sign of war, fire, passion, and heated energy.

Consider the level of difficulty

Feather tattoos that involve a lot of details and features tend to be more challenging to ink correctly, especially if you pick on a small skin area. The simpler it is, the easier for tattoo artists to get it right. 

Manage your expectations and do not get hyped up over an overly complicated design, since there is no guarantee you can get the exact same thing.

Consider the tattoo artist

Tattoo artists are the ones deciding whether or not your tattoo emerges beautifully and safely. Thus, it makes sense that you do quick research over the most reliable and trustworthy tattoo artists in town, read customer reviews, and consult with them directly if needed. 

This way, you can minimize any chance of things going wrong within the inking process. 


Learning about feather tattoo meaning equips you with the necessary knowledge to make a decision on what to ink. If you find any of these interpretations captivating, make sure to check out some popular designs and ask for opinions from professional tattoo artists!

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