These nine birds symbolize death: blackbirds, ravens, crows, kites, vultures, owls, nightingales, swans, and bats.
It’s also common that scavenger birds that eat carrion meat are representative of death because they seek out dead animals.
Birds that Symbolize Death
Bats are technically mammals but they can still fly so we can still count them as birds. There are many stories and incidents because of which bats are associated with death.
The most famous vampire Dracula is inspired by bats and it drinks human blood. Also, these are nocturnal animals that carry a lot of harmful diseases and infections which can be harmful to humans. It is never good to be bitten by a bat as it can cause you many viral diseases.
Many species of bats also feed on the blood of their animals which makes them a symbol of death.
|Western Europe, New Zealand, South-East Australia
In many of the mythologies and folklores, it is believed that blackbirds are the birds that carry death messages from a witch or a demon.
People believe that if a blackbird caws at you then it is an omen of death.
Also, the dark color of these birds is one of the many reasons why this bird represents death. That is why if you see a blackbird, you should be a little more cautious and pay more attention to your surroundings.
Crows also look quite similar to ravens but they are smaller in size. These birds also symbolize death in some of the cultures. However, there are a lot of cultures that view crows as positive omens.
In some European countries, it is believed that if a crow flies over a house and caws constantly then it can be a prediction of the death of one of the inhabitants.
Many people also believe that crows carry your memories from your previous birth and if a crow caws constantly then it can symbolize someone’s death.
|Milvinae, Elaninae, Perninae
Kites are a true symbol of death. These birds look like eagles when you see them from the ground but they are smaller in size and are some of the top predators in nature.
Whenever you see a kite circling in the sky then it usually means that some animal is definitely going to die as it is their hunting maneuver. These birds viciously kill small rodents and reptiles and represent death in the most natural form.
|Central Europe, Central Asia, Central Africa
The nightingale is a sweet bird but it is also associated with many stories and folktales.
There are many stories in which people who tried to scare away nightingale birds ended up dying due to mysterious reasons. There are many other stories in which the bird brings death to people who have done wrong things in life.
Overall, the symbol of death associated with a nightingale is still a positive one as it harms only the people who try to harm it in any way.
|Worldwide except polar regions
While modern movies and cartoons may depict owls as cute and positive creatures, there are many cultures in this world where owls are seen as a bad omen and are often associated with death.
In China, many people believe that if you hear an owl call then someone close to you might die soon. Also, in Indian culture, seeing an owl at midnight and hearing an owl call a few times at night can represent evil spirits and death.
It is believed that you should not look an owl in the eyes as it has hypnosis powers and can make you go crazy.
Many people confuse ravens with crows but ravens are different from crows as they are larger in size and also have a different tail shape and flight pattern compared to crows. These birds also symbolize death in many cultures and tales.
Mostly, ravens are associated with mourning and death. In many folklore and popular tales, the appearance of ravens represents the death of a character or a figure in the story.
In many cultures, people believe that if you see a raven in your dreams then someone close to you might die in an accident.
Swans are some of the most beautiful looking birds and they are the purest symbol of love. However, swans are also associated with death and their association is not as negative as you might think.
In many cultures, it is believed that if you see a swan dying then it can represent a good and peaceful death for someone around you. As a caring person, you would only want that if someone close to you is dying and you can’t save them then at least they die a peaceful death.
|Gyps fulvus (Griffon Vulture)
|Old and New World
Vultures also represent death in the truest form possible.
Although these birds do not hunt or kill animals, they feed on dead bodies and carcasses of animals and humans.
There is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo by a South African photojournalist Kevin Carter that shows a starving child almost on the brink of death and right beside the child is a vulture waiting for the child to die so that it could eat him. That photo itself is a true representation of death.
Vultures mean death automatically because you will always find them near something dead.
Summary of Birds Representing Death
|Birds that Symbolize Death
|In many of the mythologies and folklores, it is believed that blackbirds are the birds that carry death messages from a witch or a demon.
|Ravens symbolize death in many cultures and tales, most notably in the poem The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe.
|Crows symbolize death in many cultures because of their ominous black color.
|Kites also symbolize death because they are animals that circle dead animals.
|Vultures also represent death because they are often seen flying overhead when an animal dies.
|Owls are often associated with death in many cultures.
|Many stories and folktales associate nightingales with death.
|In many cultures, it is believed that if you see a swan dying then it can represent a good and peaceful death for someone around you.
|There are many stories and incidents in which bats are associated with death, perhaps because they live in deep dark caves that make us think of walking into the unknown, much like death.
Those are some of the birds that symbolize death. Death is also a part of the cycle of life. Any mortal who has taken a life form on this earth will have to die one day for sure. It is an element that you can’t run away from and accepting this aspect is good, as it gives you more peace than you can imagine.
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