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.
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
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.
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
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
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
Here’s a list of idioms about geese.
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
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.
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
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.