Swallow Bird Meaning & Symbolism

swallow bird
The swallow bird is steeped in deep symbolism from Shakespeare's Richard III to Chinese Feng Shui and sailor tattoos. These adaptive spirit animals symbolize new beginnings, positivity, good luck, and representations of loved ones passed. 

Swallows seem to pop up everywhere. These traveling passerines are represented in everything from Greek and Roman mythology to trendy tattoos. So, what about the swallow that brings such spiritual meanings through the ages?

With 83 species of swallows found on every continent (except Antarctica), they show up quite a bit in literature and mythology and come with different meanings in different cultures. Whether a family has made a nest in the eaves of your home, or they show up in your dreams, one thing’s certain: good things come when a swallow visits you.

What is the Symbolism of a Swallow?

Swallows symbolize anything from good luck, safe travels, happiness, and positivity. They often travel in large flocks and are very social and people-friendly. Their unique quirks and love of flying make them beloved birds across the globe.

Unlike other North American songbirds, swallow habitats span the globe, which explains why they pop up in Roman mythology and other Eastern theologies.

In Roman mythology, for instance, the sight of a swallow represented children that died before birth. To the Greeks, a swallow sighting represented the goddess of love, Aphrodite.

In our video below, we rounded up 7 little known facts about swallows!

Swallows and New Beginnings

Swallows are very famous migratory birds. When winter looms, large flocks of swallows travel together in a great migration with warmer temperatures in South America in mind. When spring is on the horizon, swallows return to their nesting sites in a flourish of blue, green, and white feathers.

Their return to their nesting sites symbolizes a new beginning as one of the first indications that spring has sprung!

In Chinese Feng Shui, swallows represent a new beginning and good fortune when used as decor in your home. Placing swallow-inspired art inspires a fresh start and is particularly useful in workspaces that need an injection of fresh energy. It’s important to note that caging swallows in cages is never a good idea, and some superstitions feel caged swallows bring bad omens.

swallow birds

Why are Swallows Good Luck?

If you find a Swallows nest in your yard, it’s a symbol of good luck and fortune for the family living beneath it. Swallows often travel long distances in large flocks, which many feels symbolize family connections and good fortune. When a family of swallows decides to build a nest in the eaves of your roof, it’s a totem of good luck and fertility.

Are you unsure that it’s a swallow that has built its nest on your roof? The good news is that swallow nests are incredibly unique and, therefore, easy to spot.

Unlike other songbirds, barn swallows build their mud nests using tiny pellets of mud collected on river banks. They take these individual mud pellets to make a cobblestone-like structure to protect their young.

swallow meaning

What does a Swallow Tattoo mean?

When you notice someone with a swallow tattoo, it’s typically a barn swallow. Since barn swallows are skilled travelers, the swallow tattoo represents good luck in travels. If you travel often, many believe a swallow tattoo will provide safe passage and protection. Swallows are such skilled fliers that their legs are boney and weak because they spend so much time in the air!

While swallow tattoos are considered trendy, they aren’t something new! Many sailors used to tattoo swallows on their chests as a symbol of good luck. Many received multiple swallow tattoos that represented nautical miles. They often got a swallow tattoo for every 5,000 miles spent successfully navigating at sea.

swallow bird

What does it Mean When You See A Swallow in Your Dreams?

Dreaming of a general bird is a manifestation of your hopes and dream. Dreaming of swallows, in particular, symbolize anything from needing a fresh start in life, good fortune, or close bonds with friends and family.

While most interactions with swallows in dreams are positive, there are some instances where a swallow in your dreams means something darker on the horizon.

If you have a dream where a swallow dies or leaves, it likely indicates that something may potentially be exiting your life. Since swallows often travel in flocks, dreaming of a singular swallow usually indicates feelings of loneliness or solitude.

Tara Summerville

Tara Summerville is a freelance writer that loves her backyard birdfeeders. She enjoys sitting on her deck with a cup of coffee, watching cardinals, blue jays, finches, and chickadees munch away at her backyard offerings. Her fascination with birds began as a child; spending afternoons at her grandma's house watching and identifying birds. She has since carried her love of songbirds into adulthood and ensures no bird in her yard goes hungry!

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