What’s The Swallow Tattoo Meaning? Read This Before Getting One

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Are you looking for a tattoo of a swallow

Swallow tattoos have a number of meanings and they depend on the culture. 

In this article, I will touch upon how swallow tattoos are seen in different cultures and what they mean. I will also discuss the significance of swallow birds in the Bible and in the Old Testament.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? 

What is a swallow bird?

What is a swallow?

A swallow is a small passerine bird belonging to the family of Hirundinidae. The term “swallow” is used colloquially for any of these birds. 

Many species of swallow are characterised by their blue upper parts and deeply forked tails. They mainly feed on flying insects.

There are more than 30 species of swallow in the Hirundinidae family found worldwide, mainly in the Southern hemisphere, with one sub-species located just outside the equator. One particularly interesting fact about swallows is that they mate for life. Swallows are known to be strong fliers and graceful swimmers too.

What is the traditional swallow tattoo meaning?


Swallows mate for life. In fact, it is believed that a swallow tattoo may represent the desire to find that one person you want to spend your life with. Like a swallow, this person would be your partner in love and life forever.

Swallow tattoos are often placed on the shoulder blade. This is because the birds are known to return home no matter how far they have traveled. They live in their nests for relatively long periods of time, so it may be that a swallow tattoo would represent a desire to return to your partner or even your family.


To be free like a bird is an expression well understood in many cultures. A swallow tattoo can represent the desire to be free and unattached. This is because swallows can travel thousands of miles away from their nests with no obvious ill effects, which makes them symbols for independence and freedom.

Swallows have an ability to fly in a V-formation, which is not just for show. It can save them energy as they share the workload by taking turns at the front of the flock. A swallow tattoo may therefore represent this idea that you are willing to help others achieve their dreams or goals and be selfless like swallows flying together in a V-formation.


Swallows have an amazing ability to return home after travelling thousands of miles away from their nests. Swallow tattoos therefore symbolise hope. They can give you the hope that no matter how far you travel or what mistakes you make in life, as long as you believe in yourself and do not lose your sense of direction, there is always hope for success.

Swallows flying in a V-formation may also symbolise hope, as they are believed to do this so that they can find the fastest route home.

Love and faithfulness

As swallows mate for life, a swallow tattoo may symbolise love and faithfulness. As a partner will stand by you through thick and thin, a swallow tattoo can represent your relationship with them or your family.

In addition, seeing swallows fly overhead may serve as a reminder of those loved ones who have passed away but live on in your heart forever.  It is thought that their ability to return home no matter how far they travel may encourage someone with doubts about faith or religion to believe again.


Regarding the purpose of a swallow tattoo, some cultures believe that swallows bring good luck. Maybe you have been through something tough recently and feel like your life needs a change for the better. Swallows are symbols of hope, so it is thought that a swallow tattoo may represent a new chapter in your life with a fresh start and brighter future ahead of you.

What does a swallow tattoo mean in the Bible?

Swallows are birds mentioned in the Old Testament of the King James Bible. The old testament is written by Jews based on what they believe to be God’s teachings. Swallows are mentioned in multiple scriptures.

The swallow bird has also been mentioned in both Christian and Muslim scriptures. Swallows are birds of peace. They often build their nests in impressive clusters known as colonies, which make them symbols of harmony between different groups of people. Swallow tattoos mean peace and cooperation between different races of people.

Swallow Tattoos’ Meaning in different cultures

Swallow tattoos also have significant meanings in different cultures and religions. Swallows are used by many different groups of people to symbolise hope, happiness, love, and faithfulness.

The swallow is a common sight in most parts of the world so they can be seen as symbols for travellers who may use them as a compass to help guide them on their journeys. As they never give up hope even when faced with difficult conditions, swallows are associated with people who always reach their goals no matter how challenging or impossible it seems.

In China, the red-breasted swallow represents good luck, while white-backed swallows represent fidelity and devotion to family.

The Japanese believe that the sighting of swallows near the house of a sick person is a symbol of death and dying, while in Africa they are believed to be symbols of good luck and happiness. 

What swallow tattoo design should I choose?

There are so many different designs you can choose from when thinking about what kind of swallow tattoo to have. For example, swallows may be depicted as single or clustered around a flower stem. In addition, they can be painted in bright colours or drawn with darker shades and minimal detail.

The size of your swallow tattoo will also depend on what you want it to represent. Perhaps you just want a small black-and-white version which is simply a sign that you love traveling and finding your way home no matter how challenging the journey might seem. 

Or perhaps you would prefer a large colourful design representing new beginnings and hope for the future. It all depends on what meaning this particular bird has for you personally.

When considering whether or not to get a swallow tattoo, it’s important to think about what the bird means to you and how this might change over time. You may want something simple when you are young but decide on a more detailed design as you grow older, so that your personal journey can be reflected in your tattoo.

In Conclusion

The world is full of beautiful and amazing creatures and the swallow is just one of them that has special meaning for us. The most important thing as you prepare yourself for a hand or arm swallow tattoo, is that you should know well about their meanings and purpose. 

Hope this article gave you an understanding of what a swallow tattoo means!

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