The small, enchanting form of the hummingbird has been a beloved tattoo design for many years. Both men and women may opt to get this delicate bird tattooed on themselves as a representation of something they have experienced or an expression of their personality, as the hummingbird can be a unique design full of beauty and significance.
If you’re considering a hummingbird tattoo, or you already have one, and want to know what special meaning this bird holds, we’re here to help you out. Below, you can find a run-down of hummingbird history, its place in legends and lore, and the potential meanings that it can bring to your tattoo.
- History of the Hummingbird
- Potential Meanings of a Hummingbird Tattoo
- Common Elements Seen in Hummingbird Tattoos
- How to Choose a Hummingbird Tattoo
- A Hummingbird Tattoo Unique to You
History of the Hummingbird
With over 300 different species of hummingbirds alive today, it is easy to see why this tiny creature has a special place in the culture and beliefs of many different people.
Hummingbirds live exclusively in the Western hemisphere and can be found in Alaska, all the way down to the bottom of South America. They possess the ability to fly backward and upside down, fly up to 25 miles per hour, and eats 50 times a day in order to keep up their energy; it is these traits that endear this bird to so many.
Hummingbirds are a central factor in many Native American legends and folklore, as these cultures saw them as a symbol of love. Ancient Aztec cultures believed that hummingbirds contained the souls of dead warriors, with one of their most powerful gods bearing the hummingbird as his spirit animal.
In more recent history, Jamaica adopted the hummingbird as their national bird in recognition of it as a symbol of peace and beauty. To this day, there are many spiritual practitioners in the Western hemisphere who believe that hummingbirds act as messengers between the deceased and the living.
Potential Meanings of a Hummingbird Tattoo
Several different meanings have been given to the hummingbird throughout its existence. These meanings range from spiritual to symbolic, and they hold a special purpose to anyone who chooses to get a hummingbird tattoo.
Strength and Perseverance
As a small animal, the hummingbird has to work hard to survive and face any challenges in their way. People will often get an image of the hummingbird tattooed on them as a representation of the challenges they faced and overcame, or a sign of their personality being one that doesn’t back down when faced with difficulties.
Hummingbirds, in general, do not thrive in captivity; they are hard to care for in captivity and need plenty of space and freedom in order to be happy. They are also highly independent, and prefer to travel and live alone.
Many people who choose a hummingbird tattoo may feel this way about themselves, and use the tattoo as a representation of their free personality, independence, and wishes to not be held down.
This freedom can also be interpreted as a “go with the flow” type of attitude that many people have, and can hold the meaning of someone who is carefree and chooses to roll with whatever life throws at them.
Hard-working and always on the go, the hummingbird can hold an inspirational meaning to those who wear it. Hummingbirds are known for their incredibly high energy and stamina, which some people can interpret to mean that they always put in effort and strive to do their best.
A tattoo with the meaning could hold an inspirational meaning for someone based on life experiences, or help guide them in future events.
Happiness and Joy
Hummingbirds are seen as carefree, beautiful, and fun. They bring people joy to watch, and perfectly represent someone who has a positive outlook on life and takes time to experience the simpler things.
Hummingbirds are a source of happiness for many, and some people may get this tattoo to represent that they are content and at peace; the image may also give someone the strength to remain positive during trying times.
Many people who follow more spiritual, nature-centered beliefs regard the hummingbird as a messenger. Seeing a hummingbird flit into your life can hold a number of meanings that range from encouraging resiliency, to a sign that it is time to enjoy the beauty around you.
The most popular of these spiritual meanings regards the hummingbird as a messenger, bringing love and signs from people dear to you that have passed. Many people choose hummingbird tattoos in memory of loved ones, or as a homage to their role in connecting the living to a more spiritual plane.
Common Elements Seen in Hummingbird Tattoos
These common elements are often seen pictured alongside a hummingbird in tattoos to help emphasize or elaborate on a certain meaning of the bird.
Nature is one of the most popular elements to combine with the hummingbird, and the most commonly seen natural element is flowers. Everything from roses, to daisies, to delicate wildflowers can be used to enhance the hummingbird’s meaning of happiness and inspiration.
They can also help drive home the meaning of nature, inspiration, and freedom for anyone who feels a connection with the more carefree side of themselves, or for a spiritual person who believes strongly in the power of nature.
Many hummingbird tattoos will also bear names, initials, or love hearts in a variety of styles. These images can strengthen the bird’s meaning as a symbol of inspiration and happiness, and bring a deeper meaning if it is used as a remembrance of a family member or to represent a person’s connectedness with spiritual matters.
The watercolor style of tattooing aims to bring a delicate, paint-like style to tattoos and is easily combined with the depiction of a hummingbird. Having your hummingbird tattoo completed in this style not only looks beautiful, but it can help reinforce the bird’s meaning as a positive, free-spirited creature.
Tribal designs combined with images of hummingbirds are often a tribute to the bird’s role in Native American and South American legends. It could also be a representation of the warrior spirit that the hummingbird was believed to have carried by the Aztecs.
How to Choose a Hummingbird Tattoo
When choosing a hummingbird tattoo, it is a good idea to look at inspiration pictures and example images. Keep in mind the size you want your tattoo to be when considering whether or not to add in other themes or elements.
You should also be thinking about the specific meaning you want to convey with your hummingbird tattoo and letting that help you select the overall style and design. Once you make an appointment with a tattoo artist, you can discuss these ideas with them and agree on the perfect design together.
Placement Ideas for a Hummingbird Tattoo
Hummingbird tattoos can look fantastic anywhere you choose to get them, but there are some placements that are more common than others. A hummingbird rib tattoo is extremely popular these days, and there are many celebrities who represent this style of tattoo. Arm and back placement are also very popular.
Most hummingbird tattoos are small in size, usually a stylistic choice used to represent the bird’s size in real life, but there are some tattoos that incorporate a variety of other elements and themes that can end up making the tattoo quite large.
A Hummingbird Tattoo Unique to You
Hummingbirds are a distinctive creature with numerous unique traits. They have been featured in the legends of different cultures throughout history and hold a special spiritual meaning for many.
If you know you want to place a hummingbird in your next tattoo, take time to consider its meaning for you and your life, and figure out any other elements you want to pair with the hummingbird to further enhance its meaning. As soon as you do this, you will surely have a hummingbird tattoo that is unique to you.