You all know what birds are right? If not, I’ll tell you…

A bird is a creature with wings and feathers that can fly (most of them). Some birds can swim, some are meat-eaters, and some eat fruit and seeds. They come in all shapes and sizes from the tiny hummingbird to the enormous ostrich.

FUN FACT: The word ‘bird’ can also be used as a slang term for a woman.​

bird idioms and expressions

Click on the pictures below to learn some common idioms and expressions with different types of birds. Each idiom includes the meaning and an illustrated real-life example.

Here’s a list of idioms that contain the word ‘bird’.

  • a little bird told me
    meaning – you hear something from someone
    example – A little bird told me that Hayley wants a pony for Christmas.
  • as free as a bird
    meaning – you can do whatever you like, you have no ties
    example – Sally is as free as a bird. She goes on holiday whenever she feels like it.
  • bird’s eye view
    meaning – see something from above
    example – I’d love a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. The bird’s eye view would be amazing.
  • birdbrain
    meaning – a silly or stupid person
    example – Don’t invite that bird-brained idiot Rodney. I want to make a good impression.
  • birds of a feather flock together
    meaning – people are friends with like-minded people
    example – My friend is out of jail, but he still hangs around with criminals.
  • the birds and the bees
    meaning – sex education
    example – My dad is talking to my little brother about the birds and the bees.

bird idioms and expressions with pictures

bird idioms and expressions
bird idioms - a little bird told me
bird idioms and expressions - as free as a bird
bird idioms and expressions - bird's eye view
bird idioms and expressions - birdbrain
bird idioms - birds of a feather flock together
bird idioms - early bird
bird idioms and expressions - bird and the bees meaning

different bird idioms and expressions

Here’s a list of idioms that contain different types of birds.

  • as dead as a dodo
    meaning – dead and lifeless
    example – My phone is as dead as a dodo, I took loads of videos of the concert.
  • as the crow flies
    meaning – a straight direct route
    example – We live 4 miles from the airport as the crow flies.
  • culture vulture
    meaning – someone who is interested in art, music, theatre etc.
    example – Rupert is a culture vulture. He’ll probably go to the theatre with you.
  • eagle-eyed
    meaning – a very observant person
    example – The mother kept an eagle-eye on her son to make sure he didn’t try to escape.
  • go cold turkey
    meaning – completely stop taking a substance
    example – I’ve quit smoking. It was easy, I just went cold turkey.
  • live in cloud cuckoo land
    meaning – a fantasy land
    example – You’re living in cloud cuckoo land if you think your wife will take you back.
  • night owl
    meaning – someone who stays up late and/or prefers to work at night
    example – I’ll start revising tonight, I’m a night owl.
  • one swallow doesn’t make a summer
    meaning – one good result doesn’t mean a good overall situation
    example – Sales were up 5% on last month, but one swallow doesn’t make a summer.
  • put the cat among the pigeons
    meaning – do something that will cause trouble/a disturbance
    example – I won’t tell Sarah I saw Tim with another woman, I don’t want to put the cat among the pigeons.
  • watch like a hawk
    meaning – watch very closely
    example – Money has been going missing from our charity box. I’m watching everyone like a hawk.

different bird idioms and expressions with pictures

english idioms - animal idioms - birds
dodo idioms - as dead as a dodo
crow idioms - as the crow flies
vulture idioms - culture vulture
eagle idioms - eagle-eyed
turkey idioms - go cold turkey
cuckoo idioms - live in cloud cuckoo land
owl idioms - night owl
swallow idioms - one swallow doesn’t make a summer
pidgeon idioms - put the cat among the pigeons
hawk idioms - watch like a hawk

chicken idioms

Here’s a list of idioms about chickens.

  • chicken out
    meaning – decide not to do something because you are afraid
    example – The boy chickened out of throwing a pen at the teacher.
  • spring chicken
    meaning – a young person
    example – Helen is still a spring chicken; she has plenty of time to have kids.

chicken idioms with pictures

chicken idioms and expressions
chicken idioms and expressions - chicken out
chicken idioms and expressions - spring chicken

duck idioms

Here’s a list of idioms about ducks.

  • lame duck
    meaning – useless, ineffective
    example – All my boyfriends turn out to be lame ducks.
  • lovely weather for ducks
    meaning – wet/rainy weather
    example – It’s lovely weather for ducks but sadly not for the beach.
  • sitting duck
    meaning – an easy target
    example – The soldiers ran out of bullets, they were sitting ducks for the enemy.
  • take to something like a duck to water
    meaning – have a natural ability
    example – Hayley has taken to motherhood like a duck to water. She is a natural.
  • water off a duck’s back
    meaning – insults, criticism etc. have no effect on a person
    example – All the criticism is like water off a duck’s back to Henry. He just tries even harder.

duck idioms with pictures

duck idioms and phrases
duck idioms - lame duck
duck sayings - lovely weather for ducks
duck phrases - sitting duck
duck phrases - take to something like a duck to water
duck idioms - water off a duck’s back

goose idioms

Here’s a list of idioms about geese.

  • goosebumps
    meaning – bumps on the skin due to fear, excitement, or the cold
    example – Take the kids in and give them a hot chocolate. They’ve got goosebumps.
  • wild goose chase
    meaning – search for something that often doesn’t exist
    example – Let’s send the apprentice on a wild goose chase for a left-handed screwdriver.
  • wouldn’t say boo to a goose
    meaning – a shy person
    example – I can’t believe he is a drug dealer! He wouldn’t say boo to a goose when he was younger.

goose idioms with pictures

goose idioms and sayings
goose idioms and sayings - goosebumps
goose idioms and sayings - wild goose chase
goose idioms and sayings - wouldn’t say boo to a goose

swan idioms

Here’s a list of idioms about swans.

  • swan around
    meaning – walk around thinking you’re the best I wish someone would punch Cara. example – She’s always swanning around like she’s the queen.
  • swan in
    meaning – arrive without a care in the world
    example – He finally swanned in around midnight stinking of booze. I didn’t even get an apology.
  • swan off
    meaning – leave/escape your duties
    example – I’d love to have Kirsty’s lifestyle. She just swans off on holiday whenever she feels like it.
  • swansong
    meaning – the final act/performance/activity of a person’s career
    example – We need to get tickets to the tour, it’s their swansong.

swan idioms with pictures

swan idioms and sayings
swan idioms and sayings - swan around
swan idioms and sayings - swan in
swan idioms and sayings - swan off
swan idioms and sayings - swansong

You can download a table of bird idioms and expressions below.

If you’ve enjoyed this page, don’t forget to check out some more animal idioms by clicking on the links below.