Sparrow Tattoo Meaning

While the humble sparrow may not stand out quite as much as a massive heron or a fierce eagle, this common bird is nonetheless a potent symbol. The behavior and simple beauty of the house sparrow, along with its habit for living closely with humans, helped it catch the attention of artists, writers, and religious figures over the centuries. It’s not surprising that sparrows have been popular tattoos since sailors first started decorating themselves with symbols of their worldwide journeys. If you’re considering a small bird as your own body art addition, check out the history and symbolism behind the avian artwork.

Sparrow Tattoo Designs

The most common sparrow design is a simple realistic representation of the European Barn Swallow. These blue and white birds are also commonly called sparrows, not to be confused by the less iconic Old World sparrows that are a dull brown and without the sweeping wings that make these tattoos so attractive. The classic sparrow tattoo first arose to prominence as part of the sailor tattooing trend that began in the 1700s.

What does the Sparrow Tattoo Mean?

Sparrow and swallow tattoos share common meanings that include:

  • Traveling the world and seeing all the wonders of the world, since the swallow can travel hundreds of miles per year
  • The arrival of spring after a long and hard winter
  • Cheerfulness and perseverance in the most difficult situations
  • A time of peacefulness after a disaster or loss
  • Good luck, especially when facing life threatening challenges like long sea journeys or going to war
  • Love for your family and the fact that you’re willing to do anything to protect them.

Symbolism of Sparrow and Meaning of the Tattoo Variations

Of course, the exact color and style of the sparrow has a big impact on the precise meaning of the tattoo. A dead sparrow is a common symbol among Christian sailors, soldiers, and other men in dangerous professions because it’s believed that the sparrow will carry the soul to heaven after death. A fallen sparrow is also tied to Christian beliefs due to Matthew 10:29, which states that not even a small bird can fall without God noticing. Finally, many people choose this kind of bird tattoo to show their love for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and Johnny Depp’s character, Captain Jack Sparrow, in particular.

Best Placements for Sparrow

The traditional placement for the sparrow tattoo is either on the hand above the thumb or the front of the shoulders. Sailors used to get one side tattooed for the first 5,000 nautical miles they traveled, then the second for the 10,000 mile mark. Of course, sparrow tattoos also look great as part of a sleeve design, or winging across the shoulders and upper back area. It’s also a good lower back and foot tattoo due to the compact shape of the bird’s body and wings.

Sparrow Tattoo

The Message Sparrow Tattoos Convey Is…

Let your wings carry you wherever you want to go, and keep your head up no matter how strong the wind is blowing.

If You Wear a Sparrow Tattoo, You are Likely to Be…

  • Outgoing and fun-loving
  • Focused on the future instead of worried about the past
  • Adventurous and always looking for something new to try
  • Strongly protective of your family, whether they’re related to you by blood or connected by the bonds of love
  • A fan of classic sailor tattoos or an avid bird watcher
  • Ready to face whatever life throws at you
  • Willing to keep trying no matter how many times you fail at first.

Reasons to Choose a Sparrow Tattoo

Consider getting a sparrow if you’re expecting the birth of your first child, or add a bird for each child or sibling in your family. It’s also a great good luck charm if you’re setting out on a long journey or taking a challenging job.

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