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Bird and Birding Baby Names

Birders have more to choose from than Phoebe to honor their feathered friends—other common names for birds, scientific names, and names of ornithologists and other pioneers who've shaped the world for birds and birders alike. - Created by ceryle

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  • Alondra

    The Spanish word for 'lark' is quite popular for girls in Mexico, but a little more uncommon in the U.S.

  • Ani

    A social bird in the cuckoo family (pronounced ah-knee), and a Hawaiian alternative to Annie or Amy.

  • Aquila

    This eagle genus (and matching constellation) might work for boys too, despite the -a ending.

  • Ara

    Fits right in with popular short names like Ava, Aria and Anna, and it's a genus of macaws.

  • Athene

    Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom, so it's no wonder a genus of owls is named after her, but with a twist.

  • Ardenna

    If Arden isn't flowy enough for you, try lengthening it to Ardenna, a genus of shearwaters.

  • Baird

    As the first curator of the Smithsonian, naturalist Spencer Baird developed the museum's collections and published natural history books on North American birds.

  • Brant

    A goose, or a trim boy's name that's less popular than Grant or Rhett.

  • Calliope

    In the Western Hemisphere, it's a tiny hummingbird; in the Eastern Hemisphere, it's a genus of songbird; in Greek mythology, it's a muse.

  • Carson

    Rachel Carson's Silent Spring publicized the dangers of pesticides to bird populations and helped launch the environmentalist movement.

  • Corvin

    One step closer than Corbin to Corvus, the genus for crows and ravens.

  • Cassin

    Taxonomist, curator and ornothologist John Cassin has lots of birds named after him, and his own name is in the vein of rising Caspian and Cassius.

  • Dunlin

    A shorebird name that's a tad softer than Duncan.

  • Elaenia

    After a group of comely little flycatchers in the Western Hemisphere, and with cute nickname possibilities in Ellie and Lainey.

  • Falcon

    An uncommon but familiar choice for fans of birds...or Star Wars.

  • Finch

    This abrupt unisex choice honors a host of small songbirds, and To Kill a Mockingbird too, if you like.

  • Florence

    Bailey works too to honor Florence Bailey, an ornithologist who published one of the first field guides to birds and organized early Audubon Society chapters.

  • Francis

    The patron saint of ecology, St. Francis of Assisi is often depicted with a bird in his hand. For a trendy -o ending, try Francisco.

  • Falco

    Falcon is a cool choice, but Falco, the Latin genus for falcons, is an edgier addition to the trendy ends-in-O club.

  • Gannet

    As a boy's name, it's somewhere between Garrett and Tanner; as a girl's name, it's an alternative to Janet; as a bird, it's a sleek seafarer.

  • Griffon

    Or Griffin, or Gryphon—however you spell it, it's a mythological avian creature, but the Griffon spelling is the common name of a couple of real-life birds.

  • Halcyon

    Another mythological bird (and modern-day genus of kingfisher) that could work on a boy or girl.

  • Harriet

    Along with her cousin Minna Hall, Harriet Hemenway launched a boycott of feathered hats around the turn of the 20th century, which successfully led to legal protections for birds.

  • Hawk

    On the nose (or would that be beak?) but cool nonetheless, and totally at home among Fox, Wolf, Bear and other smart nature names.

  • Heron

    Not out of place with other -on names, but nowhere in the U.S. top 1,000 either.

  • Irena

    Who wouldn't want to be named after a fairy-bluebird?

  • Jay

    A traditionally male choice that could work for a girl, too.

  • Kestrel

    Kestrels are fast-flying members of the genus Falco, but their name is a little on the softer side.

  • Lark

    Keep this unisex name cheerful and spunky as is, or lengthen it to Larkin for a touch of gravity.

  • Linnet

    This pretty Eurasian finch makes for a tailored alternative to the Swedish Linnea, or a fresh update on Lynne.

  • Lonan

    The Irish word for 'little blackbird' is an on-trend alternative to Logan, Ronan and other more popular Gaelic names.

  • Martin

    This traditional name feels ripe for a comeback, and it's got a lively bird namesake.

  • Mavis

    From the Old French and Middle English words for 'thrush,' it's a sophisticated, vintage choice that's making a comeback.

  • Merlin

    Merlin is more than an Arthurian wizard—he's a fast, tiny falcon too.

  • Minna

    Along with her cousin Harriet Hemenway, Minna Hall launched a boycott of feathered hats around the turn of the 20th century, which successfully led to legal protections for birds.

  • Muir

    Scottish by birth, John Muir worked to preserve forests in the Western U.S., founded the Sierra Club and inspired generations of naturalists through his writing.

  • Oriole

    Don't try this at home, if home is Baltimore, Maryland. Elsewhere, a melodic tribute to a group of birds with knockout coloration.

  • Otis

    Between Otis Redding and Otis tarda (AKA the great bustard), this name has some hefty cred.

  • Paloma

    Dove is soft and sweet, but the Spanish version has substance and spunk.

  • Penelope

    Afraid of names that are too birdy? Try Penelope, also a genus of guans.

  • Phoebe

    The birder's baby name go-to, after a group of amiable flycatchers.

  • Raven

    The Edgar Allen Poe or Raven Simone associations might be too strong, but the bird association is a good one, as ravens are sleek, regal and intelligent.

  • Rhea

    Greek goddess and large flightless bird.

  • Rissa

    Could be a nickname for Nerissa or Marissa, or could be a standalone nod to a couple of classy gulls called kittiwakes, genus Rissa.

  • Robin

    Sometimes spelled Robyn for girls, but still a unisex choice that honors a multitude of songbirds, some with red breasts.

  • Roger

    Roger Tory Peterson left a legacy through his conservation efforts and user-friendly field guides still carried by contemporary birders.

  • Rosalie

    Rosalie Barrow Edge was a suffragist, birdwatcher and conservationist who established the world's first sanctuary for birds of prey.

  • Rosella

    Combine Rose with Ella and you get the name of some gorgeous birds in the parrot family, plus great nickname potential.

  • Sora

    A birdy alternative to Cora, Nora or Sarah that also means 'sky' in Japanese.

  • Sparrow

    A birdy alternative to Willow and Harlow. And why not on a boy?

  • Starling

    Quite the stellar bird name.

  • Sula

    It may be easier to explain this short-but-sweet name's association with a Toni Morrison character than its connection to the awesome seabirds in the genus Sula, known commonly as boobies.

  • Sylvia

    A familiar name with an arboreal meaning and a bird connection via a genus of Old World warblers.

  • Sasia

    Sage meets Asia, or a genus of small woodpeckers called piculets.

  • Sylvietta

    Try a different genus of warblers for a lacier take on Sylvia.

  • Teal

    A duck, a color and a neat, friendly unisex choice.

  • Teddy

    The first president Roosevelt established the U.S. Forest Service, conserved federals lands for wildlife, and kept a list of birds he saw on the White House grounds.

  • Tesia

    This genus of warblers could be a bright way to honor a Theresa.

  • Thoreau

    Walden would be another option to honor naturalist and rebel-with-a-cause Henry David Thoreau.

  • Wilson

    Alexander Wilson is considered the Father of American Ornithology; he quite literally wrote the book on it.

  • Wren

    A unisex choice that's in the U.S. top 1,000 for girls. Or an avian nickname for Lawrence.