45 Impressive Sparrow Tattoo Ideas

What does a sparrow tattoo mean and how does its position change its meaning? Check out some awesome tattoos ideas while getting the answers.

black sparrow tattoo

Wildlife makes up the focal points of tattoos all over the world. From strong tigers to snakes, there are so many animals within the most popular tattoo ideas.

Another branch of the animal kingdom that also makes a frequent appearance in tattoos are birds, most notably eagles and swans – but also sparrows.

geometric sparrow tattoo

Whether it is your first tattoo or your tenth, sparrows can make an exceptional tattoo design and they can be personalized to give off the message you want it to. These tattoos have a rich history among seaman, sailors and the general public.

Here you can learn the meaning of sparrow tattoos, their history and different places that people get them. All of this information will help you come up with a unique sparrow idea that is personal and looks great.

Recommended: Don’t miss our guide to God of War tattoos next.

sparrow ankle tattoo

The History of Sparrow Tattoos

Sparrow themed tattoos have an interesting history. Many tattoos are believed to have started within sailing circles, and the sparrow themed design is another one of those.

The sparrow image was a sign that sailors have amassed a lot of sailing experience.

One sparrow indicated that the sailor had been a part of voyages covering 5,000 nautical miles and some sailors had two sparrow tattoos, meaning they had traveled twice as far by vessel.

sparrow back tattoo

This idea has been carried on somewhat in military groups, such as the British Royal Navy. Some of these soldiers would choose to get sparrow designs tattooed after a successful stint with the navy when returning home to the family.

This also plays on one of the other meanings of a sparrow, i.e. that they always return home (discussed below!).was also believed that if a sailor was to die at sea by drowning, the sparrow would fly their soul up to heaven.

watercolor sparrow tattoo on arm

This is also why sparrow themed tattoos in sailing groups were often positioned on the chest of the sailor. A sparrow chest tattoo may not be placed there for these reasons today but those with nautical backgrounds may have tried to keep this tradition.

Recommended: Learn all about mermaid tattoos and their mystical symbolism in our latest guide.

Today, sparrow designs have flown beyond the waves of sailing boats and are a popular type of tattoo among students, young professionals and even the elderly.

The connotations to sailing have been shrugged off with many new meanings and symbols. The detail of these sparrows has also improved due to better tattooing equipment and more talented artists.

sparrow tattoo on arm

What Does a Sparrow Tattoo Mean?

The sparrow imagery may have been a symbol of distance covered by sea once upon a time but today the sparrow theme has other meanings as well.

One of the most popular is to do with the fact that sparrows will mate for life. Consequently, the sparrow body art is used to mean commitment and loyalty to a lover.

sparrow arm tattoo

Some other meanings of a sparrow tattoo include:

  • Sparrows are also known to return home no matter what, and this is taken to create another meaning for these tattoos, such as always getting through hardship or a tough period in life.
  • Sparrows alike many other birds are social creatures and live in groups. For this reason, sparrow designs are also used to indicate family love and bonding.
  • Some prisoners have been said to get sparrow imagery tattooed to show liberty and state that they are not guilty.

sparrow back tattoo

The position and other components of the sparrow themed design can give an indication to what type of meaning the sparrow has.

The meanings can be vastly different, so sparrow tattoos need to be analyzed carefully to understand what they represent.

Recommended Next: Looking for some deer tattoo ideas? Check out our latest guide.

sparrow foot tattoo

Why Get a Sparrow Bird Tattoo?

The many meanings behind sparrow tattoo designs make them a great choice for different people with different personalities and life experiences.

This opens up the sparrow bird design to more people, but it is not the only reason to choose a sparrow design. Here are some more:

  • They can be placed in many different parts of the body easily
  • The designs can be small, large, simplistic or extremely realistic – satisfying all tattoo preferences!
  • They work well on both men and women

sparrow leg tattoo

Despite all of these reasons to choose a tattoo with a sparrow in it, always make sure you are 100% sure that the sparrow and its specific design is something you love – tattoo removal hurts!

Recommended Reading: Check out our huge guide to crow and raven tattoos next!

sparrow sleeve tattoo

The Meanings of Different Sparrow Tattoo Designs

There are countless sparrow themed designs, but some are more common than others.

Flying sparrows, perched sparrows, and two sparrows together are all popular tattoo designs. These three different designs can mean different things.

black sparrow tattoo


A flying sparrow is a symbol of overcoming a difficult period because the sparrow has raised up.

These flying designs also usually have spread wings which can be interpreted as a way for someone to spread their own wings on a new adventure.

A milestone or cornerstone moment in life usually fits the flying sparrow tattoo design well.

geometric sparrow tattoo on arm


Perched sparrow tattoos are some of the hardest to understand because the meaning is subtle. Yet, more often than not people choose a perched sparrow design to signify happiness and contentment.

If a sparrow is sat on a branch, it means that the sparrow does not have an impulse to fly away and is happy.

The inclusion of a branch for the sparrow to perch on also adds a little more detail to the overall design. The same meaning can be extracted from a lying sparrow.

sparrow ankle tattoo

A Pair of Birds

Earlier it was mentioned that sailors with two sparrows together indicated 10,000 nautical miles traveled.

However, in modern times this meaning has been overtaken by another one. Two sparrows together or a sparrow with another bird is usually a symbol of love. The two together easily show their love for each other.

sparrow arm tattoo

Some people creatively get one half of a branch with a sparrow on it, and their partner will get the other half of a branch with the other sparrow on it, collectively making a tattoo with two sparrows.

sparrow arm tattoo

What Does the Sparrow Positioning Signify?

Sparrow body art can be small or large. A small sparrow tattoo enables the tattoo to be placed almost everywhere on the body from the wrist and ankle, to further up the limbs or the torso, neck or back.

These types of tattoos are not often as large as others because the sparrow itself is a small bird. Large tattoos of sparrows will usually include many other aspects and elements such as trees and foliage or other wildlife.

sparrow tattoo on arm

Just like the design and animation of the sparrow, the position you choose to place the sparrow also signifies different things. For example, a tattoo of a sparrow placed on the back of the hand is common in the UK and Russia.

These positions are meant to be a reminder to stay on track and have been a common choice amongst prisoners to help them stop reoffending.

sparrow back tattoo

Another example is placing two sparrows near the heart to emphasize the love and loyalty meaning behind one of these tattoos.

Use this information to design your own sparrow tattoo and create beautiful ink!

sparrow foot tattoo sparrow leg tattoo watercolor sparrow tattoo on shoulder

black sparrow tattoo on leg sparrow tattoo on arm sparrow back tattoo sparrow foot tattoo sparrow stomach tattoo sparrow wrist tattoo watercolor sparrow tattoo on back watercolor sparrow tattoo on arm

geometric sparrow tattoo on back sparrow ankle tattoo sparrow arm tattoo sparrow arm tattoo sparrow tattoo on arm sparrow rib tattoo sparrow tattoo on stomach sparrow tattoo on wrist watercolor sparrow tattoo on arm

sparrow arm tattoo sparrow arm tattoo sparrow back tattoo sparrow leg tattoo sparrow neck tattoo sparrow stomach tattoo sparrow wrist tattoo watercolor sparrow tattoo on back watercolor sparrow tattoo

Join the discussion down below!

Leave a reply

The Style Up