13 Birds That Symbolize Death Of a Loved One

Death is a natural part of life, and throughout history, various cultures have used birds as symbols to represent death and the afterlife. From the ancient Greeks to Native American cultures, these birds have played a significant role in how people understand and cope with death. What are birds that symbolize death?

Birds that symbolize death are ravens, crows, cardinals, vultures, roosters, owls, sparrows, blackbirds, buzzards, nightingales, cuckoos, robins, and wrens. It’s important to note that the specific bird that represents death can vary depending on the culture in question. However, these birds are among the most commonly used symbols of death and the afterlife.

If you’re interested in learning more about these birds and their connections to death, then keep reading! We’ll delve into the history and mythology behind some of the most well-known birds that symbolize death. So come take a journey with us as we explore the dark side of these feathered creatures.

List of birds that symbolize death of a loved one

Birds that symbolize death of a loved one

Birds have always held a special place in the spiritual world, often serving as messengers between the physical and the ethereal.

In many cultures and traditions, certain birds have come to symbolize death and the afterlife, serving as a reminder of the impermanence of physical life and the eternal nature of the soul.

If you’ve recently lost a loved one, you may find solace in the following list of birds that have long been associated with death and the grieving process.

From the majestic owls to the mysterious raven, these avian symbols offer a sense of comfort and connection to the spiritual realm during a time of loss. May they bring you peace and understanding as you navigate the difficult journey of grief.

Below you can find the list of some of the most important birds that symbolize death.

1. Cardinals

The cardinal is often seen as a symbol of death in many cultures and traditions. In ancient Roman mythology, the cardinal was believed to be a messenger of the gods, often appearing to foretell someone’s impending death.

In Native American culture, the cardinal bird symbolism is often associated with the spiritual world and is thought to be a messenger between the physical world and the world beyond.

For many, the sight of a cardinal can serve as a comforting reminder of the presence of their deceased loved ones, and can even be seen as a sign that their loved ones are watching over them from the other side.

2. Crows

In ancient Greek mythology, the crow was a messenger of the goddess of death, Hecate. In other cultures, the crow is seen as a symbol of the great mystery of death and the unknown beyond.

For many, the sight of a crow can be unsettling, as it is often seen as a harbinger of death or misfortune.

Whether seen as a messenger of death or a guardian of the spirit, the crow holds a unique and powerful place in the symbolism of death and the afterlife.

3. Ravens

Ravens are symbols of death, rebirth, and transformation. In many cultures, ravens are a sign of the dead. The Native American Indians believed that ravens carried their souls to the afterlife.

They also believed that if a person was killed by a raven then their spirit would become a raven. The Maoris believed that the soul of a dead person could be trapped inside a corpse until released by cremation or burial.

To prevent this from happening they would place food near the body so that ravens would eat it and take away their souls with them.

4. Roosters

The rooster can be seen as a harbinger of death, as well as the personification of a soul. In mythology, it is often depicted as a crowing at the time of a person’s death.

In some cultures, crowing roosters are believed to be able to see death coming and warn humans by crowing loudly or frequently in the hours preceding their death. In other cultures, they are associated with witchcraft and sorcery and are considered to be bad omens.

In some African cultures, roosters are believed to be harbingers of death. Their crowing is thought to indicate that someone has died or that someone will soon die.

5. Owls

Owls are nocturnal creatures, and so they’ve often been associated with death. In fact, in Greek mythology, Athena is said to have been born from the skull of her father Zeus.

Owls have also been associated with wisdom and foresight. This may be because they can see in the dark and sometimes they can even see through the darkness of night into the light of dawn.

They have also been seen as messengers between this world and the next. They are often depicted as carrying messages between humans and spirits or gods.

6. Vultures

Vultures are symbols of death. They are scavengers, meaning that they eat dead animals. Vultures can be used as symbols of the afterlife because they have been known to eat the flesh of humans who have died.

Vultures are also associated with evil because of their appearance and their habits. They are often depicted as birds with black bodies, bald heads, and white wings.

In some cultures, vultures have been regarded as harbingers of death or as agents of Satan himself.

7. Sparrow

Sparrows are a symbol of death in many cultures. In Japan, for example, the sparrow is believed to be the soul of a woman who died in childbirth. In Hinduism, the sparrow is a messenger between the living and the dead.

In Western culture, they’re associated with death because they’re commonly seen around graveyards and cemeteries.

It is believed that if you see two sparrows together, one will die soon. This belief is based on the fact that only one sparrow can be considered lucky, as opposed to two unlucky ones.

They’re also believed to be harbingers of death and misfortune. In fact, when a sparrow flies into your house or lands on you, it’s said that this means someone close to you will die soon!

8. Blackbirds

Blackbirds are a bird of ill omen. They are the harbingers of death and are often the first birds to be seen at a place where someone has died.

Blackbirds will appear in large numbers around cemeteries, or near homes and buildings where someone has recently died, though they also tend to show up at other places with an air of mystery about them – old buildings, abandoned lots, and places where something tragic happened.

Some believe that if you see a blackbird near your home or work, it means someone close to you is going to die soon.

9. Buzzards

The buzzard is a bird of prey that lives throughout North America. It is a scavenger, feeding on dead animals.

It will also eat carrion if it cannot find any fresh meat. The buzzard is an important part of the ecosystem, serving as a natural cleaner and recycler.

Buzzards are birds that symbolize death since early times. In fact, in medieval times, there were laws against killing them because they were seen as harbingers of doom.

In many parts of Europe, buzzards were considered sacred birds, and killing one was punishable by death or banishment from society!

Even today, some people still believe that when a buzzard flies over your head, you should say “God bless me” or “God save me” so that it doesn’t bring you bad luck!

10. Nightingales

Nightingales are often seen as birds that symbolize death. It is a small songbird that can be found throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa. The bird has a beautiful, melodic song that is often heard at dawn and dusk.

In ancient times, the nightingale was associated with death and mourning. This belief likely stemmed from the fact that their songs are most often heard during the twilight hours or at nightfall when people would be lying in bed thinking about those who had passed away.

The Greeks associated the nightingale with the goddess Hecate who was known for her ability to predict death.

11. Cuckoos

In many folktales, cuckoos are seen as birds that symbolize death. These birds are well known for their ability to mimic the sounds of other species.

They have been known to mimic the calls of owls, which are often viewed as creatures of death. When cuckoos imitate the calls of owls, they can be heard during the night, when owls are most active.

The cuckoo’s ability to mimic many sounds has led some people to believe that they are able to take on the characteristics of other animals or people who they hear calling out. This belief further supports the idea that cuckoos represent death.

12. Robins

Robins are considered to be a symbol of death and mourning. They are also thought to be harbingers of death, and in some cultures, it is believed that hearing the sweet song of a robin will foretell the imminent death of someone close to you.

Robins are also considered by some to represent resurrection. This may be because of their association with springtime, or because when they fly overhead they appear to be rising from their nests.

Robins have been known to perch on tombstones and sing at night, which has led many people over the years to believe that they are singing for the dead.

13. Wrens

Wrens are also birds that symbolize death. Many cultures, including the Celts, believed that if a wren flew into your house during the winter months, you would die before spring.

It was also believed that if a wren flew over your head, it meant someone close to you was going to die.

Wrens have been associated with death since ancient times. It is thought that this bird came to represent death because its song is generally heard in the autumn and winter months when many people die.


Now let’s see some of the most frequently asked questions about birds that symbolize death.

What does a bird mean after death?

Birds are sometimes seen as forerunners of imminent disaster and death, and they are also considered to carry away or steal the spirits of the deceased, sometimes even embodying those spirits themselves. Birds, on the other hand, are frequently connected with life, fertility, and longevity.

What bird represents darkness?

In Western cultures, the owl is frequently connected with death and gloom. The owl is thought to hoot in an unsettling manner to frighten humans, and hence it is typically considered a harbinger of bad luck. Owls were thought to be bad omens in medieval Europe.

Final thoughts

Finally, birds have long been associated with mortality in numerous cultures and traditions. The birds I listed in this article are the most frequently associated with the symbolism of the death of a loved one.

I hope you enjoyed learning about the birds that symbolize death. Do you have any personal experiences or insights to share on this topic?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below. Also, you can follow my social media accounts and find some interesting stories there.

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