Bird Names for babies
Along with Paloma and Wren, other bird baby names in the US Top 1000 include Arden, Ava, Callum, Gavin, Jay, Jonas, Mavis, and Robin. Up-and-coming bird names to listen for include Adler, Astor, Dove, and Lark.
If you love nature names and animal names, you may want to search more deeply into the new genre of bird names for babies, with many choices that work for both girls and boys as well as dozens of gender-neutral names.
Origin:Hebrew, Latin or Germanic
Meaning:"life; bird; water, island"
Description:In medieval times, Ava was a diminutive of Germanic names beginning in Av-, in particular Aveline, from which the name Evelyn would eventually arise. It may derive from a Proto-Germanic root meaning "island" or "water". However, the medieval name eventually fell out of use entirely, only to resurface in contemporary times. This suggests that today’s Ava may be a modern variation of Eva. Alternatively, Ava could also derive from the Latin avis, meaning “bird.” Ava has separate Persian roots as a name meaning “voice” or “sound.”
Origin:English bird and nature name
Description:Wren, a lilting songbird name, could be the next Robin. It makes a particularly pleasing middle name choice, as does her newly discovered cousin Lark. Wren entered the Top 1000 for the first time in 2012 and is among the new wave of popular English names for girls.
Origin:Scottish form of Columba, Latin
Description:Callum was derived from Latin Columba, a unisex given name meaning “dove.” Callum was popular among early Christians because the dove was a symbol of purity, peace and the Holy Spirit. St. Columba was one of the most influential of the early Celtic saints.
Description:Jonah, the name of the Old Testament prophet who was swallowed by the whale, only to emerge unharmed three days later, is increasingly appreciated by parents looking for a biblical name less common than Jacob or Joshua, yet not too obscure. Plus, Jonah comes with a ready-made nursery-decorating motif.
Meaning:"valley of the eagle"
Description:Arden, the name of the magical forest in Shakespeare's As You Like It, is a stylish A name with a strong, straightforward image. Another reason to love Arden: its similarity to "ardent." Arden is solidly unisex, with the gender distribution running about 2 girls for every boy.
Origin:Word and animal name
Description:Bird name Raven, once a symbol of pride for both African-American and Wiccan parents, is finding new life as a superhero name. Raven Darkholme is the real name of Mystique, heroine of the X-Men films played by Jennifer Lawrence. And there is another Raven superheroine in Teen Titans. Some parents may still choose Raven to signal black pride or mystical powers or maybe even Edgar Allan Poe fandom, but we are guessing most inspiration is coming from the comics.
Description:Gavin, a name with Scottish roots, has stepped into the spotlight, replacing the dated Kevin, thanks in part to pop-rock sensation Gavin DeGraw and Bush lead singer Gavin Rossdale.
Description:Phoenix is a New Age name symbolizing rebirth and immortality; Scary Spice chose Phoenix for her daughter.
Origin:English bird name
Description:Wren may not be as time-honored a bird name choice as Robin or even Lark, but it's more fashionable. Given to just a handful of children a decade ago, in 2012 there were 250 girls in the U.S. named Wren and 29 boys. That number puts Wren on the verge of breaking through to the Top 1000 for girls, which may well tip it even further into the girls' column.
Origin:Greek variation of Jonah
Description:Jonas has a slightly more grandfatherly image than the English version of his name, but that only adds to its retro appeal. And though it may lag behind Jonah in this country, Jonas is riding a huge wave of popularity in Europe, where it ranks highly in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Norway.
Description:Though this feels like a modern invention, Jay has been in use for centuries. Early Jays often were named in honor of founding father John Jay, whose surname derived from the jaybird. A popular mid-century choice, Jay was in the Top 100 from 1956 to 1970. In the last couple of decades he was replaced by such more elaborate forms as Jayden, Jaylen, and Jayce. But Jay could make a comeback in tandem with cousins May, Kay, Fay, and Ray.
Description:Birdie was until recently a middle-aged Ladies' Club member wearing a bird-decorated hat --but now it's just the kind of vintage nickname (think Hattie, Josie, Mamie, Millie) that's coming back into style in a big way. Actress Busy Philipps named her baby Birdie (inspired by First Lady Lady Bird Johnson), as did soap star Maura West.
Meaning:"valley of the eagle"
Description:Arden is a gender-neutral name that's sleek and stylish but always seems to bob just below the surface of popularity, despite ticking all the boxes with its fashionable two-syllable, N-ending shape and it's awesome nature-inspired meaning.
Description:In Greek myth, Circe, daughter of Helios, the sun, was a sorceress living on the island of Aeaea, who could turn men into animals with her magic wand, which is just what she did to Odysseus's crew in Homer's Odyssey, transforming them into swine. All was forgiven, however, as Circe and Odysseus later had a child together—Telegonus. The name and legend have appeared in countless forms, from a section of James Joyce's Ulysses to short stories by Julio Cortazar to Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon to films to DC comics to a dance by Martha Graham. So is Circe's seductive legend too powerful for a modern little girl to carry? Your call.
Origin:Bird name; or English, diminutive of Robert
Description:Now that it's no longer fashionable for girls, Robin is rising for boys again. Robin Hood, Robin Williams, Christopher Robin, and Robin the Boy Wonder are all male namesakes, after all. It reentered the US Top 1000 boys namesin 2015 for the first time since 1999.
Origin:Bird name, or English, diminutive of Robert
Description:Sounded bright and chirpy in the fifties and ranked in the Top 100 until 1980, but by now Robin has lost much of its lilt. For a girl, consider a sprightlier-sounding bird name: Deryn, Lark, Wren. Robin is, however, having something of a style comeback for boys.
Description:Mavis, another word for the song thrush, is also a relative of the Welsh word for strawberries, mefus. Mavis has something of a British World War II feel, a friend of Beryl and Doris, but it was quite popular in the U.S. a couple of decades earlier, peaking in the Roaring Twenties. With the renewed interest in names ending in 's'--and in bird names-- Mavis could make a return, especially with the new interest in Maeve, and in fact it reentered the US Top 1000 after a 50 year absence in 2016.
Some noted bearers of the name are r&b singer Mavis Staples, a member of the Staple Singers, Canadian writer Mavis Gallant and the feminist activist Mavis Leno.
Description:The eleventh brightest star in the sky has a celestial feel, but also could be the name of a commercial airline.
Description:Jemima, the name of a strong and beautiful Biblical daughter of Job, has long been among the chicest choices of aristocratic Brits, most recently ranking at #231 there in 2017. But despite its lovely sound and peaceful meaning, this attractive name hasn't ranked in the US Top 1000 since 1893, no doubt due to the problematic association with racial stereotyping, exemplified by the Aunt Jemima brand of pancakes.
Origin:English bird name
Description:Lark is getting some new and well-deserved attention as a post-Robin and Raven bird name. Although it was first recorded as a name in the 1830's, it has never appeared on the Social Security list.
Description:Peregrine is considered to be an elegantly aristocratic name in England, but has never made it to the U.S., where it has been seen as extravagantly eccentric. In the new naming climate, though, it's not beyond consideration — in fact it's already been chosen by at least one Berry.
Origin:Variation of Avis, Latin
Description:Aviana is a name that's kinda like the megapopular Ava, and kinda like the popular Ariana, and not quite as widely appealing as either of them. But it's on everyone's scope now as the choice of actress Amy Adams for her new daughter -- ironic as she was quoted as saying she wanted a "normal" name. Turns out that Adams was born in Aviano, Italy, explaining the mystery. The first syllable of the name can be pronounced ah, ay, or (most commonly) to rhyme with have.
Origin:French word name
Meaning:"large claw of a bird of prey"
Description:Despite its somewhat menacing meaning, this name has been widely used in recent years, probably due to the appeal of its trendy on ending.
Origin:Japanese or Hebrew
Meaning:"colorful or bird"
Description:Simple names have their appeal, but Aya, barely more than a breath, maybe be too simple. It debuted on the US Top 1000 in 2012.
Meaning:"dove, a bird"
Description:One of the new bird names, like Lark and Wren, this one's associated with the billing and cooing sounds of love. Soft and gentle, Dove also has the admirable association with peace.
Description:An operatic Italian option via South Pacific star Pinza, one of several Italian names currently hot in France.
Origin:Variation of Tziporah, Hebrew
Description:There are many variations of this name, with or without the initial T and the final h, with one p or two. In the Bible she was the wife of Moses.
Description:Alouette is a sweet Gallic twist in the stylish bird name genre made familiar via the charming French children's song, Alouette, gentile alouette.
Description:Another astral name, this one relating to one of the largest and brightest stars in the heavens, is popular in Scandinavia and Spain, where it ranks among the Top 50 girls' names. In the US, it was used for only a handful of children of both sexes.
Meaning:"hawk, a bird"
Description:Animal names are on the rise, especially more of the aggressive Hawk-Fox-Wolf variety than cute little Bunnys or Robins, and Hawk is a prime example.
Hawk is more commonly heard as a surname, represented by uber-skateboarder Tony Hawk, a pioneer of modern vertical skateboarding. Variations include Hawke, as in actor Ethan, Hawks, as in Golden Age movie director Howard, Hawking, as in scientist Stephen, and Hawkins, as in musicians Coleman, Screamin' Jay and Sophie B, and was recently given to his baby boy by quarterback Tony Romo. There have been characters named or nicknamed Hawk in The Revenant, The Path and Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels. Hawk ranks at Number 699 on Nameberry.
Description:Adler is a German-Jewish surname that is beginning to be used occasionally as a first and is among the stylish new German names for boys. Among the distinguished bearers of Adler as a last name are Freud colleague Alfred Adler, actress and influential acting teacher Stella Adler and Guns N' Roses drummer Steve Adler.
Origin:Finnish variation of Magnus; Polynesian; Sanskrit
Meaning:"greatest; bird of the night; man"
Description:An international name that, although short and simple, sounds exotic to American ears.
Description:Corbin, the name of the castle where the Holy Grail was said to be hidden, came to the fore in the 1980s via actor Corbin Bernsen when he was the high profile star of LA Law, but its use is only now escalating as part of the mania for two-syllable names starting with c or k, as well as from the more youthful image of Corbin Bleu, the attractive actor-model-dancer-singer who was one of the stars of the Disney hit High School Musical.
Origin:Irish variation of Latin Columba
Description:Colm is a popular Irish name for boys that could immigrate, especially with its peaceful meaning. Colm Toibin is a contemporary Irish novelist and critic, author of The Master and Brooklyn; Colm Meaney is an Irish actor. Pronunciation is two syllables instead of one, like Colin with an 'm' at the end. Colm is related to Columba, Colom, Colum, Callum, and Malcolm.
Description:From Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore, the story of a boy named Kafka -- crow in Czech.
Description:This is an attractive Celtic mythological name, popular in Wales and a cousin of the better known Bronwyn. In Welsh mythology, Branwen was turned into a bird.
Description:Subtract the last two letters of Arnold, and you're left with a much more modern-sounding name. Arno is also the name of the main river in Florence, upon which sits the famed Ponte Vecchio. The Italian river name means "flowing water".
Description:Avis is a bird name that's been in hibernation for awhile, possibly due to the car rental association, but it could make a return on the wings of Ava. Baldwin brother Daniel chose it for his daughter.
Origin:English from German
Meaning:"ruler, strong as an eagle"
Description:Strange as it may now seem, the venerable St. Arnold was a Greek by birth, a musician who became a member of the court of Charlemagne. The name is said to have been introduced into Britain by the Normans in the form Arnaud.
Meaning:"sparrow, a bird"
Description:With related choices such as Lark and Phoenix gaining popularity, why not Sparrow? Though it's usually thought of as a female name, Nicole Richie and Joel Madden chose it for their son.
Description:This name of several early Irish saints makes a nice Logan/Conan alternative.
Description:An evocative ancient word that's used as a first name in the New Testament, among other places. It's also the name of an eagle-shaped constellation.
Origin:Japanese, Native American
Description:A funkier version of Coco that may be more appealing if you have Japanese or Native American heritage. Koko comes from the Blackfoot tribe, native to what is now Montana and Alberta, Canada.
Origin:Spanish, diminutive of Francisco; Native American
Description:Another winning and relaxed but energetic o-ending Latin name, sometimes associated with designer Paco Rabanne.
Origin:Nature name or Greek
Description:Heron may feel like a very usable nature name -- the heron is a long-legged wading bird -- but it was also the name of a 1st century Greek inventor and of an Egyptian saint. Highly unusual yet easy to understand and meaningful on several levels, Heron is a fantastic choice.
Description:Originally a nickname for someone who loved to sing or whistle, Merle is even less masculine than Meredith.
Description:This highly unusual name -- the Halycyone was a mythic bird who could calm the seas -- conjures up images of utter peace and tranquility because of the phrase "Halycon days"...and the sleeping pill.
Description:There is a whole new species of bird names open to the baby namer, from the light and feminine Lark to the sleek and powerful Falcon.