Feathers are no longer just for the birds. Holding a wide variety of meanings and symbolism, a feather tattoo can represent everything from independence and freedom to commemorating a vital relationship. Part of this versatility stems from the different traits and symbolism associated with the birds that wear the plumage.
Whether on the forearm or behind the ear, a striking full sleeve, or a subtle piece on the ankle, feather tattoos can be customized to perfectly capture the wearer’s personality and style. As the ink in this collection proves, there is a feather for every cap when it comes to men’s tattoos.
1. Classic Feather Tattoo
Clean and crisp, classic feather tattoos work great as elements in larger designs or as standalone pieces. Open to interpretation, these designs could equally represent the wearer’s carefree attitude or their love of birds, among other thoughts.
2. Peacock Feather Tattoo
Sporting some of the most dazzling plumage in the bird kingdom, peacocks are regal symbols of honor, rejuvenation, and integrity. This makes peacock feather tattoos a great choice for the man looking to add a bit of royal flair to his style.
3. Small Feather Tattoo
Feathers come in all shapes and sizes — and so do feather tattoo designs. Small feather tattoos are a great way to add a little bit of ink while keeping an overall refined and sophisticated look.
4. Native American Feather Tattoo
Native American feather tattoos can make for some truly striking pieces, especially those who want to show pride in their indigenous heritage. Depending on the tribe you’re descended from, there are a number of types of feathers to choose from.
5. Eagle Feather Tattoo
Eagles, an enduring symbol of independence and strength, have been regularly featured in tattoos for decades. Their unique markings mean that eagle feather tattoos can be just as powerful imagery as the fierce birds of prey themselves.
6. Turkey Feather Tattoo
With a striped pattern that is difficult to mistake for another bird, turkey feather tattoos are a great choice for the avid fowl hunter or anyone with a special affinity for these clever and social birds. Or maybe you just like to eat lots of turkey — we don’t judge.
7. Feather Arrow Tattoo
Traditionally used as fletching on arrows, it makes sense that people associate feathers with these ancient tools. Whether a small, simple piece with a bit of script or a larger, more realistic bolt, feather arrow tattoos are versatile enough for just about everyone’s style and taste.
8. Feather with Birds Tattoo
Without birds, there wouldn’t be feathers, so incorporating birds into a feather tattoo just makes sense. A theme that has gotten popular over the last few years, feathers with bird tattoos, makes a great tribute to the wearer’s care-free existence.
9. Crown and Feather Tattoo
There’s no mistaking the symbolism of a crown tattoo: power, strength, loyalty. These regal connotations become even more striking when incorporated together — particularly with peacock feathers.
10. Watercolor Feather Tattoo
Using splashes of ink to recreate the painting experience we all enjoyed as kids, watercolor feather tattoos can make for some eye-catching designs that provide plenty of opportunity for creative compositions.
11. Phoenix Feather Tattoo
Symbolizing baptism by fire, rejuvenation, and new beginnings, the phoenix is a globally recognized mythological creature, making phoenix feather tattoos a great way to commemorate major life changes. Plus, they just look cool.
12. Tribal Feather Tattoo
Incorporating a tribal motif with swirling lines and layered patterns is a great way to add depth and complexity to a piece. These design elements work particularly well in tribal feather tattoos and take a common tattoo to the next level.
13. Owl Feather Tattoo
The wise old sage of the bird world, owls have been associated with knowledge and judgment for millennia. When incorporated into an owl feather tattoo, these nocturnal raptors can make for some unique and meaningful pieces.
14. Cardinal Feather Tattoo
Cardinals are powerful symbols of devotion, courtship, and monogamy with their unmistakable crimson plumage. If you want to commemorate love and marriage on your body’s canvas, getting a cardinal feather tattoo just makes sense. Some happy couples even seal the deal with matching ink.
15. Black Peacock Feather Tattoo
While they are known for their vibrant colors, peacock feathers are hard to miss, even in a monochromatic color scheme. For someone that wants their ink to represent the regal nature of the birds without all the colors, black peacock feather tattoos are perfect.
16. Crow Feather Tattoo
Crows have been symbols of everything from trickster gods to gatekeepers of the underworld, making crow feather tattoos a great choice for someone that wants to show the world their mischievous side.
17. Hawk Feather Tattoo
Fiercely independent and impressive hunters, hawks have represented strength for centuries — and continue to do so today. Hawk feather tattoos are a unique and visually striking option for someone who stands out from the pack.
18. Raven Feather Tattoo
The crows’ larger cousin, ravens, are often associated with ill-fortune thanks to their jet-black appearance and tendency to scavenge corpses. But these unique birds are also powerful symbols of insight, meaning raven feather tattoos can be just as complex as these surprisingly clever birds.
19. Dream Catcher Feather Tattoo
Some people believe dream catchers can ward off nightmares and catch good dreams. For this reason, dream catcher feather tattoos are a popular way to bring these good vibes wherever you go.
20. Simple Feather Tattoo
Not all ink has to be large and complex; sometimes, less is more. This approach, expertly executed in black and grey with a single needle, perfectly suits the elegant shape of simple feather tattoos.
21. Angel Feather Tattoo
Some angels hold different characteristics and represent different aspects of human nature in the Bible. Whether a fierce warrior or a peaceful protector, angel feather tattoos are a great choice for those folks that want to keep an angel on their shoulder.
22. Blue Jay Feather Tattoo
Loyalty, devotion, and understanding are the traits most often associated with these azure birds, making blue jay feather tattoos a popular choice for ink that commemorates important relationships.
23. Realistic Feather Tattoo
Some folks want their ink to recreate the subject as accurately as possible. Realistic feather tattoos provide talented artists with plenty of opportunities to capture every tiny detail and are sure to turn heads.
24. Feather and Butterfly Tattoo
While not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “manly tattoos,” for a guy that isn’t afraid to embrace the more delicate things in life, feather and butterfly tattoos can make for some unique designs that will impress.
25. Feather Pen Tattoo
Quills are some of the earliest writing tools used to tell stories and record history for centuries. This makes feather pen tattoos a great choice for any man that has a passion for language and the written word.
26. Rose and Feather Tattoo
Symbols of love and devotion, roses tattoos have been inked onto skin for ages and can be successfully incorporated into just about any style. This makes rose and feather tattoos a great way to bring old-school flavor to any design.
27. Feather Tattoo with Name
With their swooping lines and simple shape, adding script to a feather design is a great choice. This makes a feather tattoo with names a good way to remember a wife, child, or personal creed.
28. Feather Sleeve Tattoo
A large canvas full of natural and dynamic lines, the arms are great for big complex designs. With their layered patterns, feather sleeve tattoos can make exciting designs that surely can’t be missed.
29. Wrist Feather Tattoo
The wrist is a great location for a bit of ink that still can pique the interest of a passerby. When wrist feather tattoos peek out from beneath your cuff, those who can surely want to catch a glimpse.
30. Feather Tattoo Forearm
Whether a standalone piece or a half sleeve, feather forearm tattoos can make for some unique designs in the hands of a talented artist.
31. Feather Tattoo Behind Ear
One location that has gotten popular in recent years is just behind the ear. Easier to hide than a neck tattoo but still prominent enough to turn heads, a feather tattoo behind the ear can kick your style up a notch.
32. Feather Neck Tattoo
There’s no hiding these feather neck tattoos, ideal for those folks with a powerful connection to these avian designs. make sure you’re not shy about showing them off.
33. Feather Hand Tattoo
Usually saved for last, ink on the hands isn’t for everyone. But feather hand tattoos can be surprisingly appealing, thanks to the natural lines of the hand that can be utilized in the composition.
34. Feather Thigh Tattoo
One of the larger canvases on the body, the upper leg, is a great choice for big ink that needs room to breathe. This makes feather thigh tattoos a great alternative to the chest or back for large designs.
35. Shoulder Feather Tattoo
Big, bold and unique, shoulder feather tattoos can show the world that you’re not afraid of spreading your wings and soaring to new heights.
Feather Tattoo FAQ:
What does a feather tattoo mean?
A feather tattoo can mean a host of different things depending on the person’s life experience and cultural background. However, a few common themes run through most feather tattoos are freedom, independence, and courage.
What does a peacock tattoo mean?
One of the most visually impressive birds globally, the shimmering plumage of peacocks has made them popular subjects in art for centuries. These kaleidoscopic birds represent royalty, harmony, and hope.
What looks good with a feather tattoo?
One of the great things about a feather tattoo is that it can successfully incorporate a variety of other design elements. Flowers, animals, and script pieces all look good with a feather tattoo, but the sky’s the limit when designing your ink.
Which body part works best for a feather tattoo?
Luckily, feather tattoos can look great just about anywhere on the body, but there are a few placements that stand out. A feather tattoo can utilize the natural lines of the upper and lower arm, creating a dynamic composition that draws the eye up and down the length of the design. Likewise, a feather tattoo on the ankles can call to mind the winged sandals of Hermes and symbolize the wearer’s independence and freedom.