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Birds That Symbolize Death – Spiritual Warnings

Birds and death are connected together in many ways. In fact, most cultures believe that when you see a particular type, the end of your life is near. Here are the specific birds that symbolize death and predict a warning you should not ignore.

birds that symbolize death

The spiritual meaning of birds is something that is discussed all over the world, but every culture has a different take of how they interpret the messages they receive. Let’s break down some of the most popular mainstream occurrences from across the globe.

Birds That Symbolize Death – Spiritual Warnings

Remember, it’s not just about seeing a random owl for a split second. It’s about seeing one that makes a lasting impression on you. Is the raven tapping on your window? Is the sparrow perched on your tree every day – over and over again?

Do you find something unusual? If so, this bird symbolism is connected to the vision. Do you feel uncomfortable in their presence? If your senses are telling you to take notice of these animals, then it is your message to receive.

raven bird of death

Are Ravens a Sign of Death?

Many cultures believe the raven is associated with death, but not everyone agrees. Let’s dive deeper into this specific blackbird.

The raven is commonly associated with death and is usually shown in movies after a huge battle where many bloody corpses are lying on the ground. You also usually find this animal traveling in pairs.

Using this symbolism, some cultures believe that the raven announces the arrival of a hero into the afterlife. But that is not the only way this symbol is translated. Other customs simply view this creature as someone who brings tragic news. In this case, it would be death.

Yet, others believe these scavengers don’t associate with death at all and in fact, are simply just messengers, in general, heeding a warning. This is specific to when they show up in your dreams.

But overall, most people consider the raven a very bad omen. If you see one, either sickness or worse is around the corner.

Related: Dreaming of Birds: What It Means to See a Bird in a Dream

are birds messengers


Ancient Romans believed the swan – an animal most associate with grace and beauty – is a messenger of death. But, they didn’t mind seeing it. In fact, if someone saw a swan, they felt like it was a sign that they would receive a “good death”… even an honorable one.

So, it was a good omen back in the day to see a swan even though it was related to the end of one’s time.

Related: Dreaming Of Jellyfish And Understanding What It Means For You

hearing a cuckoo


It’s not that the actual cuckoo bird is bad, it’s where you hear its calling that should worry you. The direction where the sound is coming from is key when discussing this particular animal. I hope you have your ears checked.

  • If you hear a cuckoo bird’s sound from the right – good fortune is on the way.
  • If you hear a cuckoo bird’s sound from the left – bad fortune is on the way.

Some believe that you might even suffer the illest consequence and lose your own life if you hear a cuckoo’s calling from the left. An old superstition? Perhaps.

white bird symbol

White Birds

I have to include a little note about white birds. So many people focus on blackbirds and their link to death because of how shadows and darkness are linked to the unknown.

But did you know that white birds are also historically considered an omen of death?

In British history, tradition says that if you see a white bird, you are doomed. If a white bird appears in front of someone’s window, it typically meant that someone would die in that house. This bad omen is still believed to this day in some regions of Britain.



Vultures are absolutely associated with death. I think people who aren’t even interested in the paranormal or superstition have an understanding of this connection.

Countless movies and just the way that this particular bird operates will result in a direct connection. If you see a vulture, it could be an absolute warning.

The Piwakawaka

Many tribes in New Zealand believe that if they see a piwakawaka is related to the afterworld. But, is it a bad omen? Not necessarily. If someone recently died in their family and a piwakawaka flies into their home, these tribal people believe that the bird is acting as a messenger – saying goodbye from the spirit one last time.

It’s actually quite beautiful. So, I wouldn’t consider this a negative experience. If you think about it, people from that particular region probably hope for a visit.

owl spirit guides


The vast majority of the world see the owl as a wise messenger and spirit guide. You could search a dozen different websites and they will tell you the same thing, However, there are a few different tribes in African culture that have a very view of this majestic bird.

Some view the owl as an evil being with direct ties to death and misfortune. If you travel to Kenya, you will find that most agree with this ideology. If you are walking alone at night and hear the hoot of the owl, these individuals take it as a sign that someone is about to die. They do not view it as a call from a spirit guide offering sage advice.

Related: Dreaming Of Owls – Interpretation For Your Future


The term “buzzard” even sounds nasty, right? This bird is very similar to the vulture. This is absolutely considered a bird of death. They feed off dead corpses and live off of literal death.

However, some claim that this creature represents purification and because so, can be interpreted in a positive light. They cleanse the dead, so to speak. I guess it’s all about how you look at something.

sparrow spirit guide

Sparrow Symbolism And Death

If we were to look bac at European folklore, we would find that sparrows were views as death omens. If a sparrow were to perch on a tree branch right next to someone’s home or even enter the home through an open window, it meant that someone in the house was about to die.

So, how did they combat this issue? They came up with a susperstition killer.

The rule was if you had a sparrow in your home, in order to break the curse, you had to catch the sparrow and kill it. If you didn’t, then it would be your fault the curse pushed through.

crow bird death symbol

Are crows the bird of death?

I have to bring up the crow because most people just automatically assume that they should be on a list that highlights all birds of death. They are often used in movies during dark moments to highlight impending doom. However, these animals are poorly misrepresented.

Crows are not associated with death. In fact, according to many cultures – including certain Native American tribes – crows offer up guidance to those who have passed. This is usually the case with many birds once you start to dive deep into what a visit from each type means.

These creatures are more along the lines of messengers and spirit guides than anything else.

Seeing A Robin After Someone Has Died

Let’s take a turn and switch things around. Have you ever felt like you were receiving a message from a loved one? A sign from the other side of the veil? When you see a robin right after someone has died, you can trust that you are receiving a message from the beyond.

A robin is a spiritual messenger from a loved one that you recently lost. So, when you see a robin after someone has died, it’s a beautiful thing. Consider it a little HELLO or a spiritual HUG.

Robins appear when loved ones are near.

When seeing birds after a death, take a moment and think about how you feel. Do you feel connected to that bird? Do you feel like they are there for a reason? If so, they are. Find comfort in the visit. Many birds are here for good – not as a negative sign.

Have you come across birds that symbolize death?

Have you come across any of these birds in your passings? How did you feel when you did? Death birds could represent a rebirth. It’s all about interpretation. And as always remember that every culture has its own version to the same story.

Birds symbolize different things to different people from all over this planet. So, take every piece of this round-up under your own lense.