crow on a tombstone

10 Birds That Bring Bad Luck: Superstitious Beliefs!

Explore the intriguing world of superstitions surrounding birds with our guide on “10 Birds That Bring Bad Luck.” From the mysterious black crow to the ominous raven, cultures around the world have long associated certain avian species with superstitions and beliefs.

In this insightful guide, we’ll uncover the stories and folklore behind these superstitions, offering a fascinating glimpse into human culture and belief systems.

​​​​​​​Birds That Bring Bad Luck


Are blackbirds bad luck? Blackbirds are often associated with death and the dark side of life. The birds were seen as a symbol of darkness and chaos in ancient cultures, like those of Egypt and Greece.

In Greek mythology, there is a story about Apollo sending out a plague to punish King Midas for his lack of gratitude towards the god by turning everything he touched into gold. A blackbird was sent to deliver this punishment because it was deemed an omen for disease and suffering.

Common Raven

Ravens are birds that were said to bring bad luck and doom. Many cultures had different views on ravens, but all of them agreed they carried something negative with them.

Some Native American tribes thought the black color meant they carried sorrow and death, while in other countries like Japan, it was believed that when a raven came into contact with someone or something then that person would be cursed for seven years. Ravens are also thought to symbolize Satanism because of their dark colors.

Related: 18 Fun Facts About Ravens That Will Amaze You


American Crow perched on log
Photo by Jack Bulmer from Pexels

Crows are known to bring bad luck, but the superstition has a surprising origin. In Greek mythology, a crow served as the herald of death and was associated with rituals for cleansing from sin after death. In Norse culture, crows were thought to be animals that could see into the future or souls of people who had been lost at sea. 

There are many superstitions about crows. For example, it is said that if a crow crosses your path, you will have bad luck for the rest of the day. If one lands on your shoulder, it means someone close to you will die soon. Some people believe they bring death and misfortune in general. 



Magpies are often seen as bad luck in many cultures. This is because they are often viewed as evil, or that they cause death and destruction. The superstition originated from the Roman Empire, where magpies were considered to be “birds of doom.”

It was believed that if a person saw one, it would mean their death soon after. They also associated them with ghosts. Another belief is that the sound of a magpie’s call sounds like “many sorrows” and so it symbolizes death. However, other cultures see these birds as a sign of good fortune because they represent three very important things: life, love, and happiness.​​​​​​​

Related: How to Attract Magpies to your Garden? (In 4 Easy Steps!)


Owls are often seen as bad luck because they represent death and a dark future. They have been associated with evil omens in various cultures, but what is the truth behind these myths? In Ancient Egypt, it was believed that an owl would attack humans who were not buried properly.

In Europe during the Middle Ages, owls were thought to be witches familiars. Furthermore, in modern times, some people also believe that the daytime appearance of an owl signifies impending death in the family; while others believe that if you see an owl outside your window at night or daytime, it is a sign of bad luck.

Related: 17 Fun Facts About Owls in 2022: That Might Surprise You!


There are many myths and superstitions about the night creatures of folklore. One such creature is the Whip-poor-will, which has been seen as a harbinger of bad luck for centuries. It is said that if you hear a whip-poor-will during daytime hours, it’s an omen to expect someone’s death soon.

And if you see one at nighttime, then its cry signifies impending disaster or misfortune ahead. Others think that it’s an omen to expect someone’s death soon and there are even some people who believe that seeing this bird will be the death of them, so they fear its call in the dark when most other birds are silent.

Related: 10 Birds That Sound Like Owls But Aren’t! (Updated 2022)


Image by Oldiefan from Pixabay

Vultures are typically seen as symbols of death in many cultures. The Egyptians believed that the vulture was the personification of the god Anubis, who presided over embalming and mummification. Many South African tribes also believe that vultures are bad luck, specifically because they eat rotting flesh, and so they associate them with death.

There is a legend among some Native American tribes which states that if a human sees a single vulture flying overhead, it means someone will die soon.

Related: 18 Facts About Turkey Vultures That Will Shock You!


Image by Tabble from Pixabay

Buzzards are a type of raptor. They feed on carrion and can be found in many cultures around the world. In these cultures, buzzards represent bad luck for different reasons:

-Egyptians considered them to be messengers from their gods. -The Aborigines believe that if one flies over someone’s head, it is an omen that something bad will happen soon. -Native Americans thought they were witches flying about trying to cast spells on people -The Yoruba of Nigeria see them as omens of death.

Common Myna

A common myna foraging on a lawn.
Image by Marko from Pixabay

The Common Myna is a species of myna bird that is widely considered to be an invasive species. Native to South and Southeast Asia, the Common Myna has been introduced to many other parts of the world, including Australia, Africa, and North America. Some cultures believe that the Common Myna bird is a bad omen.

Superstitions surrounding the bird say that it brings bad luck, and is an omen of death. In some cultures, the bird is considered to be a spirit animal, and is thought to be able to guide the dead to the afterlife. There is no scientific evidence to support these claims, but the beliefs are widespread nonetheless.

Common Grackle

There are many superstitions surrounding the Common Grackle, one of which is that the bird brings bad luck. This belief likely stems from the fact that the bird is often seen as a harbinger of death in many cultures. In some Native American tribes, the Common Grackle is known as the “death crow” and is said to be an omen of impending doom.

In Europe, the bird is known as the “Storm Crow” and is said to be a sign of bad weather to come. The bird’s black plumage and sinister-looking eyes also play a role in its reputation as a harbinger of misfortune. Whether or not you believe in these superstitions, it’s safe to say that the Common Grackle is not a creature that inspires confidence!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which bird is associated with death?

Crows and ravens are both birds that have been linked to death for centuries. The crow is the most common bird to be seen in stories about death, because it has black feathers, which can represent mourning or bad luck. Ravens are also often seen as a sign of death because they live near graveyards and eat carrion.

What does it mean when a crow visits you?

Crows are seen as symbols of death, doom and destruction by some cultures. Some people believe that when you see a crow, it is foretelling your future or warning you about impending danger. Crows have been seen as an omen of death and misfortune for centuries, and even today they remain a harbinger of bad luck.

Are owls an omen of death?

Some cultures believe that owls represent omens of death. In ancient times, people believed that when an owl hooted, it was a warning of the coming death. In modern day society, many people still think that if they see an owl, then someone close to them will die soon.

What bird is the harbinger of death?

Buzzards are often thought to be harbingers of death. In the Christian tradition, they were believed to be demonic birds that snatched up souls on their way to hell. For some cultures, it means that they bring death with them because of their job as a scavenger to find food by eating dead animals.

Is the owl an evil bird?

In folklore, the owl is often considered a symbol of evil, death and darkness.. This notion can be traced back to ancient times, when people believed that owls were demons who acted as messengers for the devil. 

Related Post: 15 Birds that Bring Good luck


  • Vince S

    Meet Vince, the passionate founder and author of Learn Bird Watching, boasting 30 years of birding experience. With an unwavering mission to empower fellow bird enthusiasts, Vince shares invaluable wisdom and guidance. As a dedicated moderator and contributor to Quora's Bird Watchers' Club, he actively engages with the birding community, where his insightful answers have garnered over 440,000 views and over 2,670 upvotes. Whether you're a budding birder or a seasoned avian aficionado, his wealth of knowledge is at your service.