Common Types of Birds and Bird Idioms with Pictures

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bird singing

Learning common types of birds and idioms is not the easiest thing to do, considering the complexity and variety of these vocabulary units. Yet, to feel comfortable in any conversation, you need to memorize them. Here you can find a list of bird names and an overview of the most common bird idioms. 

Common Types of Birds

  • stork
  • albatross
  • sparrow
  • raven
  • crow
  • hummingbird
  • cuckoo
  • swallow
  • swan
  • eagle
  • peacock
  • quail
  • rooster
  • penguin
  • parrot
  • owl
  • jay
  • nightingale
  • magpie
  • ostrich
  • swift
  • duck
  • pheasant
  • eagle-owl
  • flamingo
  • heron
  • guinea fowl
  • gull
  • tomtit
  • goldfinch
  • hawk
  • vulture

Bird Names with Picture

Types of birds with picture

Bird Idioms 

Swam Idioms

As Graceful as a Swan 

People often associate swans with elegance and refinement. Thus, if you want to describe someone as graceful and limber, you can say that he or she is as graceful as a swan

Example: Look at her smooth, elegant moves. She is as graceful as a swan

Turn Geese into Swans

Swans come from the same biological family of water birds like geese. Yet, they are completely different in their behavior. This contrast served as the basis for the idiom “turn geese into swans.” You turn geese into swans when you exaggerate the qualities, skills, or accomplishments of a person. 

Example: Don’t turn geese into swans. He is not as successful as you think. 

All one’s Geese are Swans

The same contrast between the two birds is used in the idiom “all one’s geese are swans.” It means that someone is exaggerating. 

Example: Mrs. Jackson likes to talk about the success of her children. Yet, she can’t see that all her geese are swans

Swan Song

There is an ancient story that swans sing a song just before their death. This belief got its reflection in English. A swan song is the final work of a creator. It can be the last performance, artwork, or accomplishment someone achieves before death or retirement. 

Example: This remarkable painting is a swan song of the artist. 

Duck Idioms

To Pour Water on a Duck’s Back

Ducks like to swim a lot. They have “waterproof” feathers that help them swim and even dive underwater, staying dry. This is why the idiom “to pour water on a duck’s back” means to do something useless. 

Example: Preaching to Peter is like pouring water on a duck’s back. He won’t listen to you.

Take to something like a Duck to Water

The ability of ducks to swim and float on the water is a well-known fact. Thus, if you take to something like a duck to water, it means that you learn it fast and without effort. 

Example: James took to skiing like a duck to water.

A Lucky Duck

Another way to use the name of this bird in your speech is to say the expression “a lucky duck.” It means that someone is remarkably lucky. 

Example: Have you won again? Wow, you are a lucky duck

Make Ducks and Drakes of something

Have you ever skipped stones across the water? This game is called “Ducks and Drakes” in English. Even if this game seems fun, it is unlikely to bring you any success or positive results. Thus, when you make ducks and drakes of something, you waste or squander it.

Example: Stop making ducks and drakes of your education. You lose an opportunity to learn new skills. 

Peacock Idioms

Peacocks fascinate people with their impressive feathers, which are actually blown. Yet, due to structural coloration, they can reflect light. This is the reason why we see their fluorescent colors. The fancy appearance of peacocks and their peculiar walk is associated with vanity and pride in plays, dramas, poetry, and other types of art.

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As Vain as a Peacock and As Proud as a Peacock

Describes someone who is too arrogant, proud, or boastful.

Example: Carlos has been as vain as a peacock ever since he got promoted. 

Eagle Idioms

Eagle Eye

Eagles are known for their outstanding vision. It was estimated that they can see 5-8 times better than humans. Besides, they have a 340-degree field of vision. To illustrate, they can spot a rabbit being 2-3 miles (ca. 5 km) away from it. Such strong eyesight serves as a basis for idioms “eagle eye” and “to watch someone or something with an eagle eye.”

Example: The teacher was watching students with an eagle eye during the exam. 

Crow Idioms

As Hoarse as a Crow

Some crow idioms are based on sounds that this bird produces. Although crows have a diversity of songs and call, these loud caws are not the most pleasant to hear. Thus, if a person has a raspy or hoarse voice, you can say that he or she is (as) hoarse as a crow

Example: After a football match, I’m as hoarse as a crow

Crow to Pluck

If you have to discuss something annoying, it is a crow to pluck

Example: We have a crow to pluck. Why did you arrive late? 

As the Crow Flies

Although it is not entirely true, people believe that crows fly in particularly straight lines. The phrase “as the crow flies” means a straight direction. 

Example: It is 45 miles (ca. 72 km) away as the crow flies.

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