Butterfly and other Nature Names from the Sky

March 27, 2013 Pamela Redmond
butterfly baby names

Secret nature names are an intriguing category: baby names that reference animals or weather or some other aspect of nature in their meaning without being explicit about it the way names such as Lily and Fox are.

If you’re a nature lover but value subtlety in your name choices, these kinds of secret nature names may be perfect for you.  We’ve explored secret garden names in the past, but today we turn our attention to nature names from the sky: names that mean butterfly and bird, that relate to rain and clouds and the sky itself.

Here, a wide range of secret nature names from many cultures:

Girls’ Names

Alizeh – This Persian name meaning “wind” was used by actress Geena Davis for her daughter.

AmayaAmaia is a Basque name but its homonym Amaya is a Japanese name that means “night rain”.

Branwen — A Welsh name that might be thought of as Bronwen‘s lesser-known cousin, Branwen means “blessed raven.”

FarashaThis lovely Arabic names means “butterfly”.

Jarita – A legendary bird in Hindu mythology.

KimanaA Shoshone name meaning “butterfly”.

MariposaAnother butterfly name, long used as a first name in Spanish cultures.

Mavis – Another traditional first name, French for “songbird”.

Niley — This Aboriginal name meaning “shell” could be a fresh twist on Miley.

Palila – A rhythmic Hawaiian name that means “bird”.

SenaSena is a genus of moth and also an African name that means “bringing heaven to earth”.

Talia – The Hebrew Talia, as in Rocky actress Talia Shire, means “gentle dew from heaven”.

ToriTori may be famously short for Victoria, but it’s also a Japanese name that means “bird”.

VanessaThis literary classic invented by Jonathan Swift is also a species of butterfly.

YaraThis Arabic name meaning “small butterfly” is used in Brazil and Spain.

Boys’ Names

Branson — This patronymic means “son of the raven” — or owner of the airline.

Corbin — This name meaning “crow” was introduced in the 1980s by actor Corbin Bernsen but may just now be coming into its own via its trendy sound.

Dasan – Simple yet exotic, Dasan is a Native American name that means “son of bird clan leader”.

Dion – This 60s pop star name is Greek and means “child of heaven and earth”.

Efron – The handsome Efron is a Hebrew name that means “lark”.

Ingram — This unusual German name has the somewhat foreboding meaning “angel-raven”.

Kane or Keyne is a Celtic name meaning “man of the eastern sky.”

Lonan – This attractive Irish alternative to the overused Logan means “blackbird”.

Neal, Neil, or Niall – This Irish name and its variations mean “cloud”.

Zeru — A Basque name that means “sky”.


Halcyon – The fashionable Halcyon references the mythological kingfisher bird.

MerleLong used as a first name for both sexes, Merle is French for “blackbird”.

Zephyr or Zephyrine – Quirky and strong, these names are Greek for “west wind”.


About the author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry. The coauthor of ten bestselling baby name books, Redmond is an internationally-recognized name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show,, CNN, and the BBC. Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its new sequel, Older.

View all of Pamela Redmond's articles


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