Bird names for girls range from mainstream favorites to names with avian meanings that we barely even realize, to bold rarities that don’t quite seem like names.

But every one of the bird names for girls on this list could work for a daughter, either as a first or a middle.

They fit in nicely with our passion for word names, particularly those drawn from nature. With Willow and Luna, Lily and Autumn in the current girls’ Top 100, it’s easy to imagine how bird names fit in.

Relatively few of these were in use prior to recent years, at least not in English. But many of them have roots and meaning that go back centuries.

It’s an appropriate moment to discuss bird names in general. The American Ornithological Society is in the midst of re-naming birds to remove human names, in favor of more descriptive terms. In the words of Society president Colleen Handel, “Names have power and power can be for the good or it can be for the bad.”

Still, those aren’t the types of bird names discussed here – these are vocabulary word names in the key of River or Juniper.

In the past, popular bird names tended to be accidental. Robin was well-established as a boy’s Robert nickname long before we used it for our daughters and thought of it as a nature name.

Looking for boy bird names? It’s a shorter list, but choices like Corbin and Hawk are possibilities. Raven feels like a unisex choice. Nicole Richie famously named her son Sparrow. And Cameron Diaz recently welcomed Cardinal.

So amateur ornithologists of the world, unite! Let’s explore the rich and varied bird names for girls.



This Top Ten favorite doesn’t necessarily fit with bird names for girls. Except that the Latin avis means bird, and is similar-ish to Ava.


Lately, Birdie is a name on the rise. Some raised an eyebrow when actor Busy Philipps welcomed Birdie Leigh in 2008. And Birdie might be short for Elizabeth, Bernadette, or another name with a strong B sound. It’s cute, but feels more like a vintage discovery than a too-sweet name like Tweetie.


After years in style, Mavis made a quiet comeback. Credit not a bird, but a bat – a vampire bat. It’s the name of the adorable daughter to Count Dracula in the Hotel Transylvania series. But it’s also another name for the song thrush, or in Old French, the mauvis. A late nineteenth century novel introduced the idea of Mavis as a given name, and it became a popular choice in the 1920s and 30s.


Phoebe means bright. The name of a moon goddess in Greek mythology, it’s also the everyday name for a type of bird, native to the Americas.


While Phoenix is more popular for boys, it appears in the girls’ Top 1000, too. While this bird is strictly mythological, it’s served as a powerful symbol of rebirth for millennia.


Big in the 1990s, young actor Raven-Symoné put her nature name on the map. It’s rising again today, both because of our love for nature names and the great middle ‘v’ sound. Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem made the bird literary, but also a little bit dark.


A traditional nickname for Robert, Robin became a Top 100 pick for girls from the 1950s into the 1970s, the age of Susan, Karen, and Sharon. But it can work equally well in the company of Maren, Eden, and Evelyn. Fun fact: the robin is the national bird of England.


We tend to think of Tori as a Victoria nickname. But in Japanese, Tori can mean bird, depending on the kanji used to write the name, and several other meanings are possible.


The only nature name I’ve ever written on a birth certificate, Wren continues to soar. It entered the US Top 1000 in 2013. Now names like Wrenley and Wrenlee are following. When it comes to girl bird names, Wren is flying high.



Strictly speaking, an aerie is a bird’s nest, often an eagle.


From a Latin name meaning eagle, Aquila was masculine in the ancient world and the New Testament, but it’s more likely to be feminine in the US.


Mini names often word in multiple languages, so no surprise that Aya claims half a dozen origins and meanings. Among them: a Hebrew name meaning to “fly swiftly.” (Though Kveller’s name finder lists the meaning as buzzard. Still a bird, but a little less romantic.) It’s also the name for the ancient Mesoptamian goddess of the dawn.


Lark seems like a logical choice for a bird-inspired baby name. It’s a small songbird, though the word lark can also refer to fun, lending Lark a high-spirited enthusiasm. Mia Farrow chose it all the way back in 1973. Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany welcomed Agnes Lark in 2011.


Mavie might be a cousin to Mavis, the song thrush. But it could also be a name derived from the French phrase ma vie – my life. German actress Mavie Hörbiger might have helped boost the name in Europe.


Parents fell for gender-neutral Merle in the 1910s and 20s. It comes from the Old French word for blackbird, from the Latin merula.


Artist and pacifist Pablo Picasso was the first, but others have followed his lead, giving their daughter the Spanish name for dove. Paloma Picasso became a noted jewelry designer, possibly inspiring more parents.


The large, flightless bird, cousin to the ostrich, might not immediately inspire parents. But Rhea is also a goddess, mother of Zeus himself. The bird was named for the mythological mom in the 1750s.


Intrepid namers Nicole Richie and Joel Madden chose this name for their son, Sparrow James Midnight, but it works just as well for a girl.

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This modern Welsh name literally means bird. It shortens easily to Addie.


A Spanish word meaning lark, and cousin to Alouette.


The French word for skylark feels familiar to many thanks to the children’s song. (Fair warning: the lyrics are all about plucking the bird for roasting.) It’s a pretty sound, with the Lou sound suggesting some easy nickname options. It’s not used as French name among native speakers, but if you read the novel Les Misérables, it’s used as a term of endearment.


Like Ava, this name is likely Germanic in origin. But because of the Latin avis, it’s long been associated with birds.


Another Welsh import, Bran means raven, and the -wen comes from gwen – fair.


Here’s a surprise: Canary appears as a given name for girls in the US as early as the year 1900. The small yellow bird is a popular pet – think of Snoopy’s sidekick, Woodstock. In some cases, it might reference a family surname. American frontierswoman Calamity Jane was born Martha Jane Canary.


You might think of a celandine as a flower – and it is! But it derives from the Greek word for a swallow.


A sorceress who tangled with Odysseus on his wanderings, we think of Circe as a powerful sorceress. But the name comes from the Greek kirke – which might have meant bird.


A Late Latin name, Columba referred to the dove, a symbol of the holy spirit. Favored by early saints, both male and female, Columba eventually became the (exclusively male) Callum. Colombe in feminine in French.


There’s more than one possible origin for Daya, including a Sanskrit word meaning compassion. But in the Talmud, a long list of birds includes the dayah.


In Hebrew Dror means sparrow – or freedom – and Drora or Derora is a feminine form.


A very literal bird name with gentle overtones, Dove might be another of the bird names for girls on the verge of going mainstream. A white dove is an international symbol for peace; a white-winged dove features in Stevie Nicks’ hit “Edge of Seventeen.”


A Basque name meaning swallow. Ainara and Ainhara are also seen.


An Old English word for a type of seabird, Gannet survives in our word gander, a female goose.


In Greek myth, Alcyone’s husband died in a shipwreck. In grief, she threw herself into the ocean, too. But the gods took pity on them and turned them into kingfishers. Halcyon is the English name for the birds. A medieval legend about calm weather around the winter solstice is linked to the kingfisher, and so “halcyon days” are a period of happy, tranquil time, typically in the past.


Another dove name, Jemima comes from Hebrew via the Old Testament. She’s one of Job’s daughters. Puritan parents embraced the name, but in the US today, it’s mostly syrup.


Another literal bird name, a kestrel is a type of falcon. It’s uncommon, but the sound is intriguing. Kestrel is also among the very few bird names for girls inspired by a bird of prey.


Laraline comes from a Latin word meaning seagull. (Laridae is the Latin term for a family of seabirds, including the gull.) It doesn’t have much history as a given name, but like many of the other rarities on this list, it could wear well.


A linnet is a type of finch. Linnet might also be a form of Lynette, which could be a form of Welsh myth’s Eluned, or possibly a nickname for Lynne.


In English, the bird is called a golden plover – and I’d guess that Plover is a non-starter as a given name. Loa is the bird’s name in Icelandic. Sound-wise, it falls somewhere between Lola and Noa, and could wear surprisingly well.


A nightingale name that fits right in with our affection for Lucy and company.


Like some names on this list, it might feel more pratical as a middle name. But Nightingale undeniably belongs with the birds. It’s a hero name, too, thanks to world-changing nurse Florence.


It comes from a Latin word meaning golden, though if you’re a fan of the Baltimore Orioles, you’ll know that their colors are orange and black.


A type of golden-headed bird native to Hawaii. Interesting fact: environmental groups suing to protect the palila’s habitat under the Endangered Species Act often sued under the bird’s name. In other words, the bird was the named plaintiff. (And the bird won!)


Pavonine describes peacocks, just as feline describes cats. But this could make a gorgeous, daring middle name choice.


In Greek myth, Philomela was turned into a nightingale, and that’s what her name means. It comes from the Greek words for “love” and “song.”


From the Sanskrit for myna bird, Sarika seems completely surprising and yet perfectly accessible.


There’s a Sephora selling cosmetics in every shopping mall in America. But Sephora started out as an Old Testament name. It comes from a Hebrew word meaning bird.


Borrowed directly from the birds, it also brings to mind Silence of the Lambs’ unforgettable FBI Agent Clarice Starling.


Twilight’s Bella and Pirates of the Caribbean’s Elizabeth both answer to this surname. And why not? It’s a beautiful bird with a fierce reputation – possibly a winning combination for a daughter’s name. Not into Swan? There are plenty of related names to consider. Also worth noting: legend tells that Saint Hugh of Lincoln kept a tamed swan as a sort of pet bird, potentially lending a subtle spiritual note to this name.


This sounds like an active name, and indeed, the 100 or so species of swifts are among the fastest-flying birds in the world. The adjective came first – it’s from Old English. It could be an intriguing middle name possibility. As a first, it might be too Taylor.


A greenish-blue color, Teal comes from the feathers of a duck.


A name borrowed from the night sky, Vega is the brightest star in the constellation Lyra. But it takes its name from an Arabic term referring to a swooping eagle. That puts in on the list of female bird names, too.


Another form of Sephora, one that skews closer to the Biblical original, Tzipporah.

Which bird names for girls are missing from this list? Would you consider any of these names for a daughter?

This post was originally posted on July 6, 2012. It was substantially revised and re-posted on October 2, 2015; May 18, 2020; December 2, 2023; March 28, 2024; and June 11, 2024.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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  1. Because Tori is on this great list, I would like to share some Japanese girl names borrowed from birds:
    Hibari (lark, hee-ba-ree), became popular thanks to a Japanese legendary diva.
    Suzume (sparrow, soo-zoo-meh), gaining popularity after the Makoto Shinkai’s anime.
    Chidori (plover, chee-do-ree), Tsubame (swallow, tsu-bah-meh), Tsugumi (thrush, tsu-goo-mee).

  2. I knew a family that had a son named Griffin, but for short they just called him Griff. He’s an adorable boy!