If you’re searching for a tattoo that is as strong and powerful as it is delicate and charming, look no further than the noble hummingbird.
Hummingbirds frequently appear in pop culture, art pieces, and tattoo designs.
You may think hummingbird tattoos are so popular because of their beautiful jewel-like colors, and you are partially right!
But hummingbirds have a lot more to offer than pretty feathers.
With the advent of more delicate techniques in the tattoo world, lines can be softer and colors more vibrant.
Hummingbirds are a popular choice for a bold tattoo that looks light and airy.
While hummingbirds have become quite popular, you shouldn’t feel discouraged about getting your hummingbird tattoo.
The most beautiful thing about this species is how many varieties there are!
This is a tattoo you can make your own with a little research.
Bird-watching may seem boring, but there are so many interesting facts about hummingbirds and so many types to admire.
Let’s dive into some facts about the hummingbird. Where do they come from and what do they symbolize?
If you’re thinking of getting a hummingbird tattoo, you’ll treasure it even more after reading about these feisty little guys.
Where do Hummingbirds Come From?
Hummingbirds are generally found in the Western Hemisphere.
Though there are many species of hummingbirds, some of whom may not be discovered yet, they tend not to hang out in Europe or countries considered “old world.”
Like most beautiful, brightly colored things that occur in our natural world, hummingbirds like things hot.
There are a few (less than 20) species of hummingbirds that live in North America, but they tend to stay close to the Mexican border, or pass-through other areas when the weather is right.
Sounds like a nice life!
The Wisdom of the Hummingbirds
Author and motivational speaker Elizabeth Gilbert used hummingbirds as a powerful metaphor in one of her talks.
The talk, a part of Oprah’s Supersoul Conversations, is called The Curiosity Driven Life.
It is about Gilbert and how she discovered that there are two kinds of people in the world: The Jackhammers and the Hummingbirds.
Gilbert’s more famous work, Eat Pray Love, has inspired hundreds of tattoos, but that book is about her journey.
Her curiosity talk is about a unique approach to life that everyone should take once in a while.
A hummingbird tattoo would be a nifty way to carry her concept along when you may need it most.
The reason Gilbert performed this speech was that she had spent years telling people to “discover their passion.”
As someone who knew she wanted to be a writer from a young age, and achieved her dreams with flying colors, she had reason to believe in passion.
Until she got a letter from a fan who was feeling let down by the concept.
The fan said that they had many interests, but nothing that felt like a proper passion.
As they got older, the fan said, it started to get embarrassing.
They hadn’t arrived at any conclusions about their life’s purpose, despite looking really, really hard for it. Can you relate?
Gilbert created her passionate jackhammer vs curious hummingbird philosophy based on this letter.
She said that jackhammers (like her), would find one thing interesting and be able to pursue it relentlessly for their whole lives.
Hummingbirds, on the other hand, flit from thing to thing.
They’ve probably had multiple jobs and gone to school for multiple things, some that lasted a few years and some only a couple of weeks.
These interests may be tangentially related, or not at all similar.
Because these people have so many passions and curiosities, they end up with an interesting perspective on life.
Gilbert encourages the hummingbirds to feel less self-conscious, to embrace their curiosity, and to put less pressure on themselves.
Lean into the things that interest you, she says, and see where they lead.
Are you someone who feels like you don’t have a purpose?
Maybe you’ve pursued multiple paths, none of which lined up in the way you expected.
Hummingbird tattoos may be a gentle reminder that it’s OK if you haven’t arrived at any conclusions, and to stay curious on the path of life.
Celebrities with Hummingbird Tattoos
If you decide on a hummingbird tattoo, you’ll be in good company!
The small, jewel-toned birds are a source of inspiration for so many people.
You’ll even see some hummingbird tattoos on the red carpet.
Here are a few famous faces who chose a hummingbird design:
The effervescent star of Modern Family has a tattoo of a hummingbird behind her ear.
The small black and grey piece was given to her by Dr. Woo, frequent tattoo artist to the stars.
When posting a picture of the tattoo, Hyland said it was a symbol of playfulness, endurance, and traveling great distances.
She connected with the lightness and joy of the hummingbird, choosing to carry it with her forever.
The animal seems to be perfectly suited to the star, who is petite, funny, and full of depth.
The Devonshire born redhead has several subtle tattoos, one of them being a hummingbird on the right side of her back.
The hummingbird is done in black ink and has an impressionist feel to it.
As a model, actor, and entrepreneur, it’s possible Cole identifies with Elizabeth Gilbert’s curiosity-driven philosophy on life: she is a multi-talented hummingbird.
This country singer’s hummingbird tattoo has a unique backstory.
The soft, watercolor design sits on her left forearm just above her wrist.
She got it because, on her 18th birthday, her parents bought her a Gibson hummingbird guitar.
Though she’d had other guitars before, this was the first one that belonged to her all the way.
Because it inspired her to become the star she is today, Morris paid tribute to the instrument with a beautiful tattoo.
Hummingbirds in Pop Culture
Because of their unique characteristics, hummingbirds often act as muses for creative people.
Whether they are present or just made reference to, many pieces of pop culture include hummingbirds.
Maybe one of these films will give you some ideas for your next piece of ink.
Flit from Pocahontas
When creating Pocahontas, animators were looking for appropriate animal companions for the lead character.
David Pruiksma, a prolific artist for Disney, started studying hummingbirds.
He liked how they could move in any direction, and used that to inform the character’s personality.
Flit ended up being a feisty, overprotective character who helps bring the narrative to life.
House of Hummingbird
The 2018 South Korean drama, written and directed by Kim Bora, plays on the idea of the rapid movement of a hummingbird.
The film is a coming of age story that takes place in 1994.
Bora centers the story around a real-life event: the collapse of the Seongsu bridge.
Bora saw the collapse as the consequence of trying to do too much too quickly.
At that time in history, South Korea was trying to modernize their city at breakneck speeds.
In her narrative, the hummingbird acts as a metaphor for rapid movement.
Hummingbird Tattoo Symbolism
While there are any number of reasons a person may get a hummingbird tattoo, some people may choose it because of its spiritual significance.
People have been fascinated by hummingbirds since they first saw them, and the first text we’re aware of that mentions hummingbirds is from way back in the 1500’s.
Before that, many ancient peoples have had ideas about hummingbirds.
Native American Spirituality
While there are hundreds of Native American tribes, each with their own unique set of beliefs, hummingbirds are generally seen as healers, messengers, good luck symbols, and even fire bringers.
Their non-stop movement in all directions definitely gives them a fiery energy we could all use sometimes.
In the Aztec culture, people believed hummingbirds were messengers from the dead.
More specifically, hummingbirds were thought of as being able to bring messengers from fallen warriors.
The war god in Aztec culture is represented by a hummingbird, and people would wear a talisman of the god in this form to increase their sexual virility.
“The Occult” can encapsulate so many things. It could just be a nice person burning some incense, or it might be something a little more nefarious.
National Geographic wrote about an illegal hummingbird trade on the internet, something that is apparently quite common!
There are people in certain corners of the occult world who believe that hummingbirds are potent love charms.
Though it is illegal, there are places where a person can order a dead hummingbird for use in a love spell.
Why not get a hummingbird tattoo as a symbol of self-love instead?
It’s legal, it’s a powerful experience, and nobody has to die or break the law.
In general, people who practice witchcraft are pretty tame.
There are many sects of witchcraft, but the general idea about hummingbirds in the community is that they are messengers.
They believe that, because each person is different, a hummingbird may appear to one for an entirely different reason than it would for someone else.
There is no mention of hummingbirds in the bible, but they have come to be known as symbols of resurrection in some Christian communities.
This is due to the hummingbirds unique sleeping pattern.
A hummingbird expends so much energy during the day, it goes into a mini-hibernation at night.
To conserve energy, its heart rate slows down and body temperature drops.
This can make it seem like our friend the hummingbird has passed on, but they’re just saving their resources for tomorrow.
Main Themes in Hummingbird Tattoos
Hummingbirds are beautiful enough to stand alone, but sometimes you want to enhance the atmosphere of your tattoo.
It can be fun to give your subject matter somewhere to “live” on your body.
Adding additional symbols to a hummingbird tattoo can heighten or alter the symbolism of this gorgeous imagery.
If you are thinking of adding some sweet accents to your hummingbird tattoo, here are some popular ideas we’ve seen:
Hummingbird sitting on a tree branch
A hummingbird moves quickly from flower to flower, but even this fast-moving creature has to catch its breath!
When you depict a hummingbird in “rest mode,” you can capture more of its details.
For people who like to keep busy, this design may be a nice reminder to take a breather every once in a while.
Hummingbird Tattoos with Flowers
If you’re a fan of color, a vibrant creature could only be made more beautiful by a brilliant bloom!
Hummingbirds and flowers are natural friends since the hummingbird is one of nature’s greatest pollinators.
A hummingbird tattoo with flowers is a wonderful way to pay homage to your love of nature.
Hibiscus & Hummingbird Tattoos
The hibiscus can have many interpretations on its own, often symbolizing femininity or a love for tropical locales.
Hibiscus tattoos can also represent youthful beauty.
Paired with the energetic hummingbird, this may conjure images of joy and playfulness.
The hibiscus and hummingbird tattoos are also both associated with sexual energy by some, so a hibiscus and hummingbird tattoo may be a fun way to infuse a little sexiness into your everyday routine.
For purely aesthetic reasons, hummingbirds and hibiscus flowers complement one another in a tattoo.
The bright luscious hues of a hibiscus will make a dazzling combo with the jewel tones of a hummingbird.
Rose with Hummingbird Tattoos
Rose tattoos are most often associated with romantic love and make for a gorgeous pairing with our friend the hummingbird.
Because hummingbirds are thought to be love charms, a rose and hummingbird tattoo may be the perfect way to invite some loving energy into your life.
This tattoo may also be a nice subtle dedication to someone you love.
Cherry Blossom & Hummingbird Tattoos
Cherry blossoms are well known for their symbolism.
In Japan, where they are most commonly found, they represent everything beautiful and temporary.
The cherry blossoms only bloom for a short time, but they’re so beautiful that everyone takes time out of their day to enjoy them.
Because a hummingbird moves so quickly, cherry blossom and hummingbird tattoos can be a poignant reminder to live in the now and appreciate what you have.
Nature Tattoos & Hummingbird Tattoos
Better yet, why not incorporate your hummingbird into a natural landscape?
In nature tattoos, you can mix multiple meaningful designs.
Choose flowers, plants, and trees that have significance to you, and then decide where to place your friend the hummingbird.
The result is a stunning, resonant piece that’s uniquely you.
Dream Catcher with Hummingbird Tattoos
Dream catchers have origins with the Ojibwe peoples but spread out to other Native American tribes over time.
Now they are well known and widely used.
A dream catcher is most often hung above a baby or child as they sleep.
The idea is that nightmares will get tangled up in the “web” of the dream catcher, while the feathers allow pleasant dreams to enter the child’s head.
Because hummingbirds are seen as messengers in some Native American tribes, this makes for a powerful combo.
Dream catcher tattoos with hummingbirds can represent a desire for prophetic dreams or messages from your ancestors.
For a person from an Ojibwe background, it can make a beautiful memorial tattoo.
Hummingbird Skull Tattoos
Some Cool Facts About Hummingbirds
Of course, if you aren’t a spiritual person, there are still ways to find meaning for your hummingbird tattoo.
Just studying the qualities of an animal can make you think about the qualities you’d like to cultivate for yourself, or the way you’d like to live your life.
Hummingbirds truly are amazing creatures.
Maybe a hummingbird tattoo would suit you if you’re a small person with a big heart.
A hummingbird’s wings can move in all directions, so it can fly backward, forwards, sideways, and they can even hover in one spot.
Maybe you’re looking to be more adaptable, or drastically change your life. Make like a hummingbird and change your direction!
Hummingbirds eat almost constantly, because they burn so much energy they need to feed the beast.
They slow down so significantly at night, they can be a great reminder to take care of yourself.
Work hard, play hard, rest hard!
Hummingbird Tattoo Designs
If you’re feeling inspired by hummingbirds and feel like getting a tattoo of one, there’s really no reason not to!
Hummingbirds come in a variety of different colors to suit your personality, and they make for a beautiful tattoo.
Check out our hummingbird tattoo gallery for an extra dose of inspiration!
Realistic Hummingbird Tattoos
Realistic hummingbird tattoos have a crisp, colorful, HD quality.
If you’ve been watching a lot of Planet Earth and want a piece of that breathtaking cinematography for yourself, a realistic tattoo design will fulfill your hummingbird tattoo dreams.
Realistic Black & Grey Hummingbird Tattoos
A black and grey portrait tattoo is a thing of beauty.
If you want your hummingbird to look like it was torn from the pages of a nature photography magazine, consider a realistic black and grey hummingbird tattoo.
Micro-realist Hummingbird Tattoos
Because hummingbirds are so small and delicate, they often appeal to someone who wants a micro tattoo.
To fit a lot of detail in a small space, and have it age well, is no small feat!
Sometimes when tattoos are packed too tight, the details bleed into one another over time.
Be sure to see a tattooer who is experienced in the micro realist style, to be sure your hummingbird looks amazing for a long time
Black and Grey Hummingbird Tattoos
Just because hummingbirds are colorful creatures, doesn’t mean they won’t look amazing in black and grey.
This tattoo style is wonderful for capturing texture and detail.
Geometric Hummingbird Tattoos
If you want a hummingbird tattoo that feels abstract and modern, consider a geometric tattoo design.
Geometric tattoos break their subject matter down into their most basic shapes and represent them as such.
Because animal tattoos are so popular, geometric hummingbird tattoos are an excellent option for people who want to have something original that stands out from the crowd.
Ornamental Hummingbird Tattoos
Looking for something a little more abstract?
Highlight the hummingbird’s otherworldly beauty with some ornamental elements.
Every pretty picture needs a nice frame, and in this style, you can marry natural elements with geometric shapes, jeweled elements, or even tribal patterns.
Single Needle Hummingbird Tattoos
In a single needle tattoo, your artist uses one single needle as the name implies.
What’s special about that is, most tattoos are achieved using multiple needles for different effects.
Many tattoo needles are actually a few needles bundled together, but that won’t work in this style.
The reason for the pencil-drawn look of these tattoos is that the medium is very similar.
Single needle hummingbird tattoos are done using one slim needle, giving them that artsy effect.
Traditional Hummingbird Tattoos
Because of their fast movement and vigor, hummingbirds had to have been admired by hardworking sailors who spent months at sea.
That “hold fast” mentality a sailor needs is represented well by the hummingbird.
Whether you’re a hardworking person looking for a little extra oomph, or just a lover of old school tattoos, you’ll be happy to go home with a traditional hummingbird tattoo.
Graphic Hummingbird Tattoos
“Graphic” is an umbrella tattoo term that implies contemporary designs on the cutting edge.
The tattoos we often see in this category combine geographic shapes with more organic material, creating a sense of contrast that’s pleasing to the eye.
Graphic hummingbird tattoos are a nice option if you want something that feels modern, and are open to your tattoo artist having a little fun with the design.
Sketchy Hummingbird Tattoos
Sketch tattoos are exactly what they sound like- they look as if they’ve been ripped from the pages of an artist’s sketchpad.
The raw, sometimes shaky lines give these tattoos a great amount of life and movement.
Sketchy hummingbird tattoos are an excellent choice because they can accurately capture the movement of this mesmerizing bird.
This style is often combined with watercolor techniques for more colorful subject matter, and the styles are very compatible.
You can see examples of this combination below.
Neo-traditional Hummingbird Tattoos
Handpoke Hummingbird Tattoos
Dot-work Hummingbird Tattoos
Contemporary Hummingbird Tattoos
Contemporary designs feature the bold color fills from American traditional designs, but use modern colors and techniques to create something stunning and original.
We love this colorful approach for one of nature’s most vivid creations.
Black-work Hummingbird Tattoos
In black-work tattoos, large areas of saturated black are used to create a stunning contrast between that and the negative space.
If you love the idea of the hummingbird, but prefer a monochrome palette, this is the design for you.
Illustrative Hummingbird Tattoos
For artists and art lovers alike, illustrative tattoos look like they were ripped out of the sketchbook of a skilled hand.
These soft, romantic designs are beautiful when executed well.
Be sure to search long and hard for your perfect illustrative tattoo artist.
Embroidery Hummingbird Tattoos
New School Hummingbird Tattoos
Abstract Hummingbird Tattoos
Abstract means that a subject matter has been broken down and changed in some way, while still being recognizable.
This style may incorporate surreal imagery, a clever use of negative, or impressionist techniques.
Abstract hummingbird tattoos don’t follow any guidelines or rules.
This is a good option for someone who wants something that no one else has.
Colorful Hummingbird Tattoos
You’re paying homage to one of the most colorful critters in the world, why not make a splash?
These hummingbird tattoos are sure to catch people’s attention in a wonderful way.
Watercolor Hummingbird Tattoos
Watercolor is one of the best ways to capture movement.
Watercolor hummingbird tattoo designs are organized chaos- with washes of color that drip and splatter the way watercolor paint does on paper.
Watercolor tattoos are perfect for the vibrant, energetic little hummingbird.
Tribal Hummingbird Tattoos
Many people think of tribal tattoos as being more rigid and abstract, but this art style is extremely versatile.
The bold lines of tribal tattooing can give a regality to its subject matter.
A tribal hummingbird tattoo is especially fitting for someone who comes from a background that uses tribal tattooing to tell their family stories.
In this context, the hummingbird may be an important animal guide to that person or their loved ones.
Celtic Hummingbird Tattoos
Celtic tattoo style became a popular tattoo style in the mid-2000’s.
Celtic hummingbird tattoos can be a way of feminizing more masculine-looking Celtic knots.
It is likely to be worn by someone who wants to celebrate their Celtic heritage.
Because of the associations hummingbirds and Celtic knots have with love and romance, this is a beautiful idea for a wedding tattoo.
Haida Hummingbird Tattoos
In Haida tattoo art, the hummingbird represents forward momentum.
A hummingbird can move in any direction, and you may take moments sometimes to reflect on your past, but you can’t dwell there.
You must keep moving forward, and that is the message of Haida hummingbird tattoos.
Hummingbird Tattoo Ideas
Simple Hummingbird Tattoos
Want a design as delicate and small as the hummingbird itself?
Simple hummingbird tattoos are extremely popular for someone who wants to get inked, but still be able to cover up when they’d rather not cause a stir.
These simple tattoo designs are so sweet and delicate, they may convert some anti tattoo people out there.
Small Hummingbird Tattoos
Hummingbirds are small birds, so their tattoos don’t have to be much bigger.
We love a petite homage to this tiny, determined creature.
It’s something you can show off or keep hidden as you please.
Jamaican Hummingbird Tattoos
The swallow-tailed bird is only found in Jamaica, and as such, has been written about in many Jamaican folk tales and songs.
This bird is often called the “doctor bird” because of its long tail, representing a doctor’s coat.
Some believe that this bird is a supernatural entity, able to carry lost souls.
Jamaican hummingbird tattoos may represent supernatural beliefs, pride in your Jamaican heritage, or both.
Ruby Throated Hummingbird Tattoos
The ruby-throated hummingbird is immortalized in a legend by the Ohlone tribe, known in the past as Costanoans: There was once a time when most of the world was covered in water, and there was no fire.
The only fire anyone knew about was from the badger people, who kept themselves and their fire hidden underground.
One day, a hummingbird uncovered one of the badger people’s embers.
When the bird picked up the ember with its beak, he accidentally swallowed it- giving his throat a fiery hue.
Ruby-throated hummingbird tattoos, therefore, represent a sense of determination, problem-solving, and industriousness, even if they are a little sneaky.
The Ohlone people also saw the hummingbird as a fertility symbol.
You may choose this design for the above reasons, or because the contrasting colors of this bird make for a beautiful tattoo design.
Steampunk Hummingbird Tattoos
Steampunk enthusiasts will love these steampunk hummingbird tattoos.
If you belong to this interesting subgroup, it’s a unique shout out.
The idea of a mechanical hummingbird is a novel one and makes for a playful design that’s just fun to look at.
Origami Hummingbird Tattoos
Are you a fan of the Japanese art of origami?
If you have a special relationship with paper, this whimsical design is an unforgettable one.
Origami hummingbird tattoos are a spirited tribute to this lively creature.
Nazca Hummingbird Tattoos
In the Nazca desert of Peru, there are geoglyphs in the ground.
These shallow incisions form a variety of patterns, from lines to living things.
Though we do not know exactly where the glyphs came from, historians theorize this may be a kind of ancient zodiac.
One of the symbols found in these glyphs is a hummingbird.
If you are an archeologist or history buff, a Nazca hummingbird tattoo may be an interesting choice for you.
Rainbow Hummingbird Tattoos
Rainbows represent hope, optimism, and the LGBTQIA+ rights movement.
Why not use this playful critter in an explosion of color to send out a positive message?
Rainbow hummingbird tattoos are just a joy to look at.
Lace Hummingbird Tattoos
This hyper opulent design is befitting to someone who isn’t afraid to gild the lily.
Lace hummingbird tattoos are beautiful, feminine, and no two will be exactly alike.
Purple Hummingbird Tattoos
Blue Hummingbird Tattoos
Hummingbird Tattoos For Men
Hummingbird tattoos are appropriate in any style for any gender.
If you’re looking for a more masculine looking take on a hummingbird design, here are some of our favorite hummingbird tattoos for men.
Hummingbird Tattoo Placement
Hummingbird Tattoos on Wrist
Hummingbird Tattoos on Forearm
Hummingbird Tattoos on Shoulder
Hummingbird Tattoos on Foot
Hummingbird Tattoos Behind The Ear
Hummingbird Tattoos on Hand
Hummingbird Tattoos on Ankle
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