Sparrow Tattoo Meaning, Symbolism and Placement Ideas

They may be one of the tiniest birds around, but sparrows make huge aesthetic impacts.

And while they may not be the flashiest bird, when it comes to tattoos, sparrows are one of the popular choices for bird tattoos.

With its plump body and sharp beak, the sparrow bird has meanings that go beyond their looks.

Before you run off to book an appointment with your tattoo artist for a sparrow tattoo, it will be good to first know the significance of sparrow tattoos.

This article will cover everything you need to know about sparrow tattoos.

But first, let’s check out the meanings and symbolism of a sparrow tattoo.

What Does A Sparrow Tattoo Mean?

Sparrow tattoo meaning

The sparrow bird is shrouded with a lot of superstitions.

If you take some time to read up on it, you will see that it is often associated with folklore, legends and mythologies.

Before now, the sparrow was not considered a bird associated with love.

But not anymore. This perception has changed in recent times.

Want to know why?

Well, one thing is that sparrow birds do not just jump from one bird to the other. When they mate, they do that for life. This is why the sparrow is regarded as a symbol of monogamy.

So, one way to show your love, commitment, loyalty and fidelity to your partner in a relationship is with a sparrow tattoo.

While the sparrow may be a little bird, its bright nature is often believed to bring good luck charm when paired with other body art ideas.

There are so many significance of the sparrow bird including historic cultural interpretation.

To give you a clearer picture, we will now list some of the many interpretations of the sparrow to help you decide on what you want your sparrow tattoo to mean to you.

Protector Of The Dead

Ancient Egyptians believed that the sparrow could take away the soul of the departed. Have you ever seen sparrow bird images used in memorial designs for someone that has died? That’s one major reason sparrows appear on memorials.

But this belief doesn’t just resonate with the Egyptians.

In fact, sailors believe that sparrows accompany their dead companions who died in the sea to heaven.

Check out a traditional pirate design and you may likely see the sparrow as part of it.

For this reason, sparrow tattoos can signify protection and preservation.

Another angle of protection the sparrow offers is security.

Sparrows do not fly over the water but instead fly close to the land. This tells sailors that land is near.

And so they are happy to see the sparrow because it serves as a representation of land and security for them.

If you want your sparrow tattoo to represent protection or security, the image should be of the sparrow in a flight mode.

To make the tattoo pop, you can add red and blue colors with some flowers to complete the look.


The sparrow is also a favorite tattoo for prison inmates because it represents freedom for them.

When you consider how small the sparrow is and yet flies freely, you get to understand why it is associated with freedom.

This doesn’t mean that everyone with a sparrow tattoo was an ex-convict. No.

While convicts prefer this tattoo because it gives them hope that one day they will be free, non-convicts that love being free can also ink this tattoo.

In prison, the sparrow tattoo can also represent liberty.

This means that the prison does not stop the inmates from doing what they want to do.

Then for others who want to show that they are wrongly detained, the sparrow tattoo is one way they use in passing the message across.

It is important to point out that a sparrow in a cage tattoo means that such a person’s dreams, desires and goals are being controlled and repressed.

Persistence and Hard Work

Sparrows are not known to be lazy. They are always working to get food for their young ones.

This is why the bird is a symbol of hard work, diligence and persistence.

For anyone who loves being creative and productive, the sparrow tattoo can serve as a push to drive such passion.

Friendship and Companionship

Sparrows serve as the perfect representation of friendship and companionship because of the way they move together.

In breeding seasons, you will see these birds building nests on not just trees but on people’s buildings.

Maybe that’s why the Native Americans believe it to be friends to the common people and peasants.

Compassion and Joy

Have you experienced the sparrow’s sweet melodies before? Then you can tell how lovely the sounds are.

Male sparrows, like other male birds, sing to attract the females.

Although these chirpings are directed at the female sparrows, it also brings joy and happiness to anyone that listens to it.

So, the sparrow tattoo can serve as a reminder for you to keep singing even when life is tough.

Contentment and Simplicity

Sparrows do not have much, but they make the best use of what they have. They gather a small amount of food and are contented with it. This tattoo can help you focus on the important things that matter in life.  


The sparrow is also a symbol of self-worth. You will find this symbolism mostly in Christianity where the sparrow is used to remind the believers of God’s care.

In one particular occasion in the bible, two sparrows were said to worth only a coin. Yet, they were said to be valued by God Almighty.

It went ahead to point out that if God could value sparrows, His love for human beings will definitely be worth much more to Him.

This might sound religious, but by extension, the sparrow tattoo can help to remind you how important you are.

It will help you remember that you are worth so much more in life and not let people bring you down with their wrong perceptions of you.

Loyalty and Love

As already mentioned above, sparrows are a good symbolism of loyalty and love. Here, the sparrows referred to are tattooed in pairs.

Two sparrows posed together symbolize a deep bond between two people.

When in groups, the sparrow tattoo represents community love.

However, if the pair of sparrow tattoos is facing away from each other, it means letting go of an old relationship and moving on to a new one.

Omen of Death

Sparrows are not just symbols of everything nice and beautiful.

They can also represent death.

In the olden times, precisely the 19th century British, sparrows were regarded as an omen of impending death.

At that time, anyone who sees the bird must kill it or the person will lose a loved one or die.

Thankfully, sparrows are not seen in that light anymore.

Now that you know what the sparrow can symbolize, you can make a better decision on what you want your sparrow tattoo to mean to you.

Why Are Sparrow Tattoos Popular?

When you think of it, sparrows are not very attractive so to say. So what makes these little inconspicuous birds an inspirational and popular tattoo?

From the various symbolisms of the sparrows, you can see that they have such valuable meanings.

Who wouldn’t like to associate with such a renowned bird? 

If you ever watched the movie – Pirates of the Caribbean – where popular actor, Johnny Depp, played the role of the accidental drunken Captain Jack Sparrow, then you would have probably seen the sparrow image at play.

This was one of the many events that made the sparrow tattoo quite popular.  

Those who do not want to be bound by the dictates of the society, often tattoo the sparrow bird as an expression of their free will.

Oftentimes, people use the sparrow tattoo to exhibit their creative side.

Because sparrow tattoos are gender-neutral and have aesthetic impact, they became a favorite among tattoo enthusiasts.

Best Placement for Sparrow Tattoo

You can place your sparrow tattoo anywhere you like.

But, there are some places that have more meanings than others.

For instance, a sparrow tattoo that depicts friendliness is best placed below the collarbone.

The design you choose will also determine where you place your sparrow tattoo.

For women, the sparrow tattoo goes well on the hands, ankle, behind the ear, in between the fingers, wrist, shoulder blade and thigh. For intimate tattoos, the sparrow tattoo can be placed on any part of the breast.

For men, the ideal places are on the neck, chest, forearms, biceps, back, neck, legs, and sides.

There is no restriction to where you can have your tattoo.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are sparrow tattoos still used as memorials?

Yes, they are still very much popular even in modern times. Some people use it to ink the names of their beloved ones who have departed. Apart from that, sparrows are still used in birth certificates or death banner memorial of a person.

What is the difference between a sparrow and swallow bird tattoo?

Both birds are feisty and small. You will find that both are usually mistaken for the other. The difference is that the swallow bird has a curved forked wing, a pointed tail with a blue shade. The sparrow, on the other hand, has a gray/brown dull color with short wings. They are also plumper in appearance. Sparrows are mostly linked to religion, while swallows have more significance than the sparrows.  


While it is a small bird, the sparrow tattoo is an embodiment of contentment and simplicity.

They harbor a lot of inspiration that you will find useful in life.

The sparrow is really a perfect choice for anyone considering getting a bird tattoo. We hope that now that you have a better understanding of what the sparrow tattoo symbolizes, you will be able to choose what the tattoo means to you.

About the author

I’m S.R Bhuiyan, a proud Tattoo artist. I will share the body art journey with you here in PrettyJust. I have 10+ years of experience in the field of tattoo, piercing, nail art, and skincare. Check out my bio which has my tattoo studio/cat/travel pics!

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