Traditional Eagle Tattoo

Traditional Eagle Tattoos: Meanings, Placement & Tattoo Designs

Traditional Eagle Tattoos

Free and flying high, the eagle embraces the true spiritual nature of life.

They spend much of their time in the air, being one with the sky and viewing the world from a perspective different from ours.

Traditional eagle tattoos capture the essence of these fascinating creatures. 

Although eagle tattoos are seen in many styles such as geometric tattoo style, dot work, fine line, and tribal tattoo style, it is the traditional style that has been around longest for the eagle tattoo.

Traditional style tattoos have always incorporated the eagle as one of their main symbols – but don’t be fooled, they remain just as popular today. 

The majestic, stunning wingspan of the eagle is a spectacle worthy of being inked, especially on a larger scale.

This means that many choose the traditional eagle tattoo to cover their back, chest or thigh.

The eagle exudes such a powerful presence that such large scale tattoos age well with their visually exciting features

There are other positions that the traditional eagle can adopt, however.

Some tattoos depict the eagle sat with its wings in, standing tall and independent.

Whilst others work with just the head, going into fine detail and texture (which is perfect for those who want a traditional eagle tattoo without it taking up too much skin!)

Traditional Eagle Tattoo Meanings

Most prominently, the eagle is a national symbol for the United States of America.

Its endless travel filled with opportunity and discovery rings parallels with much of the American Dream, where those who find themselves in the country can do whatever they wish to.

There is an undeniable sense of hope that is attached to the traditional eagle tattoo as it stands undisturbed and confident.

Whilst its US symbolism is one of the main meanings, the traditional eagle tattoo is fair from a one-trick pony.

Actually, there are multi-faceted meanings and for many people, there is no one meaning to their traditional eagle tattoo.

Whatever meaning speaks to you, this tattoo is an instant classic and suits a range of bodies as well as styles.

That is why the traditional eagle tattoo has such longevity. 


Eagles are something which reoccurs as an important animal in many countries’ cultural history.

With this, an array of spiritual tales exist.

For example, a Native American tribe holds a fable about the people of Delaware and how its feathers hold the key to good luck.

Its body is full of old tales, ideas and unanswered claims, making it the ultimate animal of spirituality.

The traditional eagle tattoo represents a world higher than our own, unlimited and unbound by life on the ground level.

Eagles are omnipresent and bring with them a sense of knowing, of having answers to the unknown and of succeeding in what is tangible.

They have a spirit that cannot be touched or seen.

If you are interested in the spiritual and what exists beyond us, the traditional eagle tattoo may be just right for you. 

Drive and Focus

Have you ever seen footage of an eagle in its natural environment?

Spread wings, piercing eyes and a ready beak, the eagle is the perfect example of the independent drive. 

Pursuing prey with an abundance of skill, there is a reason that eagles are perched at the top of the food chain. 

Like eagles, we take on each day with a strong survival instinct that has developed appropriately over thousands of years.

We have a drive within us to seek out what we need.

Similarly, we focus on our aspirations and work hard to get where we want to be – much like the eagle who flies miles to seek its happy ending. 

Whilst it is easy to forget how much each day requires of us, it is important to remember the focus and drive we all have within.

The traditional eagle tattoo reminds us of these brilliant characteristics and gives us that praise we all deserve of getting through the day!


Unlike many other animals who stick to the safety of numbers, the eagle tends to venture out on its own.

This means that it fends for itself independently, and mostly comes back unscathed. 

Independence is an admirable characteristic, even when we have our own family and friends.

It demonstrates the strength of mind and body.

It is also reminiscent of those classic USA values – brilliant for those who cherish American patriotism. 

Revel in the meaning of independence with a traditional eagle tattoo that depicts a single eagle standing proud.

Or maybe a close-up of their face, showing the strength in their expression.

This independence is visible in many parts of the eagle.


Did you know that eagles commence their first flight around nine to ten weeks old?

Their fast development means that travel becomes an innate feature, prioritized right from the early years.

In these younger years, eagles have been known to travel far distances.

For example, a bird settled in Massachusetts have ventured into Southern Canada in search of food.

We, too, may take to the skies in search of the finest cuisine. 

This is why many traditional eagle tattoos depict the bird in a mid-flying manner, with their wings spread open.

If you are full of wanderlust and a keen traveler, the traditional eagle design is the perfect way to show that off before it even comes up in conversation! 


Undeniably beautiful to look at, traditional eagle tattoos are worth it for their visual wow factor alone.

Working with an animal who already exudes elegance means that your tattoo is a spectacle of grace, inspiration and endless beauty.

The sheer beauty of your traditional eagle tattoo is a natural one.

However, like all tattoos, you can offer your own interpretation.

Traditional tattoos tend to sport usual symbolism like roses or skulls, and work with classic tattooing style.

Nonetheless, you are still open to the world of creativity with color, texture and the kind of eagle you want tattooed.

Are you a fan of detail?

An intricate tattoo of an eagle’s head opens up to careful textures of feathers and effective light and shadow.

Alternatively, you may enjoy the freedom of the eagle flying, where line work and spatial components come into play for the tattoo.

You could opt for a dab of color around the eagle, as it travels through the sky. 

Whatever your preference, the traditional eagle tattoo already offers you true beauty in its facial features and body form.

They are an animal to admire. 

Main Themes in American Traditional Eagle Tattoos

Although the traditional eagle tattoo is a visually striking and endlessly symbolic design in its own regard, there are other themes which can work perfectly with yours.

Below is a range of main themes one can focus on with their design, and they represent the aforementioned meanings attached to traditional eagle tattoos.

  • Traditional Eagle Talon Tattoos

Due to their need to defend and attack, eagles are equipped with impressive claws.

The eagle talon is a long and slender limb that is both graceful and intimidating. 

When incorporated into a tattoo design, the traditional eagle talon tattoo elevates the usual eagle tattoo into a symbol of physical strength and defence.

As it hones in on a specific part of an eagle, a traditional eagle talon tattoo has the flexibility to be a small or a large tattoo.

Traditional Eagle Talon Tattoo
Traditional Eagle Talon Tattoo
Traditional Eagle Talon Tattoo
  • Traditional Eagle Tattoos & Snake Tattoos

Add some mystery with a traditional eagle and snake tattoo

Bringing similar themes of fearlessness and focus, the snake can be seen weaved up in the traditional eagle tattoo to create an unbeatable pairing of strength. 

The smooth yet curved lines of the snake work brilliantly as a backdrop to the triumphant wingspan of the eagle.

Traditional Eagle Tattoo and Snake Tattoo
Traditional Eagle Tattoo and Snake Tattoo
Traditional Eagle Tattoo and Snake Tattoo
  • Traditional Eagle Tattoos & US Flag

Inject pride into your traditional eagle tattoo with the flowing image of the US flag, in all its patriotic detail.

Historically, the US has drawn many parallels from the eagle and is inspired by its powerful independence and endurance. 

The traditional eagle tattoo and US flag brings back those qualities to the everyday routine as motivation to achieve our best.

Traditional Eagle Tattoo and US Flag
Traditional Eagle Tattoo and US Flag
  • Traditional Black & Grey Eagle Tattoos

Whilst there are many examples of traditional eagle tattoos with bursts of orange and reds, there is nothing quite as classic as the traditional black & grey eagle tattoo.

It is time to take things back to basics and let the powerful qualities of the eagle speak for your tattoo.

Traditional Black and Grey Eagle Tattoo
Traditional Black and Grey Eagle Tattoo
Traditional Black and Grey Eagle Tattoo

Traditional Eagle Tattoo Placement

As well as considering style, color and theme, another component to remember is placement.

The meaning behind your personal traditional eagle tattoo influences whether you would want the piece on your arm to show, or on a more intimate, covered area such as your back.

Placements are also influenced by the desired size of your tattoo.

Have a think of how large or small you would like your traditional eagle tattoo when you decide on its placement.

  • Traditional Eagle Tattoo on Chest

Chest tattoos are incredibly intimate.

For the traditional eagle tattoo, this is no different.

Choosing to have a traditional eagle tattoo on the chest provides a brilliant surface to work with.

Its closeness to the heart also feels closer to the essence of a person.

This means the chest a great place for your traditional eagle tattoo if it is an especially meaningful design for you.

Traditional Eagle Tattoo on Chest
Traditional Eagle Tattoo on Chest
Traditional Eagle Tattoo on Chest
Traditional Eagle Tattoo on Chest
  • Traditional Eagle Tattoo on Forearm

Arguably one of the most popular areas for tattoos, the forearm is a wonderful place for the traditional eagle tattoo.

The forearm, like the eagle, is forever in motion. 

Its location means that the eagle is easily visible for others to see – and perfect for those photographic opportunities!

Traditional Eagle Tattoo on Forearm
Traditional Eagle Tattoo on Forearm
Traditional Eagle Tattoo on Forearm
  • Traditional Eagle Tattoo on Ribs

Brave the needle and get your dream traditional eagle tattoo on your ribs.

The rib area, like the chest, serves as a wide area to work with if you have a large statement piece in mind.

If you desire to have a traditional eagle tattoo where the eagle is in motion, the ribs give you that opportunity to fully focus on the wings.

Traditional Eagle Tattoo on Ribs
Traditional Eagle Tattoo on Ribs
  • Traditional Eagle Tattoo on Shoulder

Although not as popular as some of the other placements, the shoulders are a great place to have your traditional eagle tattooed.

Attached to your arm and close to your head, having a traditional eagle tattoo on the shoulders is at the center of your body.

It is involved in much of your human motion.

Traditional Eagle Tattoo on Shoulder

Traditional Eagle Tattoo Designs

Traditional eagle tattoo designs are plentiful.

From the large scale spectacle of the eagle in action to the petite version which pays respect to the animal’s nature, you will find a tattoo design that feeds into meanings that are most important to you. 

Below are some examples of beautiful and striking traditional eagle tattoo designs.

Take influence, be inspired or simply admire the range of ideas that the powerful eagle brings out in us.

Traditional Eagle Tattoo
Traditional Eagle Tattoo
Traditional Eagle Tattoo
Traditional Eagle Tattoo
Traditional Eagle Tattoo
Traditional Eagle Tattoo
Traditional Eagle Tattoo
Traditional Eagle Tattoo


Traditional eagle tattoos bring a true level of depth and meaning to their design, demonstrating that even work rooted in tradition can be personal and varied.

As a creature with many admirable qualities, there is no doubt that the traditional eagle tattoo will continue to be a firm favorite choice.

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