45 Beautiful Peacock Tattoo Designs (with Meaning)
When it comes to courtship, the peacock is a master. There are very few species in the animal kingdom that can compete with its ability to make a woman swoon.
In one swift, vigorous motion, the peacock overwhelms a potential mate with a spectacular display of movement and color—an incredible sight to behold.
This iconic dance has made the peacock a popular symbol of wealth, beauty, renewal, and integrity—and it has become a wildly popular motif for tattoo lovers.
In this article, I’ve compiled 45 of the most beautiful peacock tattoo designs.
Each artist is given due credit, so if you want to check out more of their work or message them directly, their names and Instagram accounts are all there.
Towards the end, I’ll also answer some FAQs and talk about the various symbolisms associated with peacocks, so keep reading!
Peacock Feather Tattoos
The tail is one of the peacock’s most prized possessions. It uses it to attract potential mates and it does so through an extremely flashy display of movement and color. But the secret is in the feathers.
Peacock feathers are characterized by their blue-green pigment and flashy gold rings. Their attractive design has been a huge inspiration for many fashion designers, which is why you see a lot of showgirl costumes with a similar appearance.
They’ve also found their way into tattoo as a popular motif for women especially. The size and shape often lend itself well to body parts with lengthy proportions such as the forearm and calf.
by Maira. (@the_mad_tatter_skg on Instagram).
by Shiva Tattoo. (@shiva_tattoostudio on Instagram).
by Emily Malice. (@emilymalice on Instagram).
Traditional Peacock Tattoos
If you want something with a vintage look, the traditional tattoo style is definitely what you need. The traditional style is characterized by its bold, black outlines (called powerlines) and limited color palette.
The limitations in color are due to the fact that there just wasn’t much available color when the style was invented. But this contributes to the vintage aesthetic it’s so popular for.
The peacock design theme definitely lends itself well to traditional style. The powerlines are great for accenting the feathers and giving it a flowy vibe, while the gradient-heavy coloring style does well in illustrating the iridescence of the feathers.
by EAST_INK_Tomiko. (@east_ink_tomiko on Instagram).
by Unknown artist
by Marcel Holtzum. (@holtz_79 on Instagram).
by chelsea kotzur. (@chelseakotzurtattoo on Instagram).
by ᏩᎪᏃᎾᎾ. (@gazoo_tt on Instagram).
by Malarkey Tattoo. (@malarkeytattoo on Instagram).
by Damian Morris. (@damosademorris on Instagram).
by Bruce Paul. (@boostaboosta on Instagram).
by Antonio. (@toni_beat on Instagram).
Neo-Traditional Peacock Tattoos
Neo-traditional is the next step to traditional style. It takes the ethics of traditional style and pushes them further by incorporating the full range of colors available in the markets today.
The same powerlines are found throughout the style but there is significantly more room for artistic freedom. Below, you’ll see some of neo-traditional designs that incorporate a bit of realistic and ornamental style.
by Lisa. (@tattooliesje22 on Instagram).
by Lisa Sussmann. (@lisa.sussmann on Instagram).
by Aaron Anthony. (@aaronanthonytattoo on Instagram).
Watercolor Peacock Tattoos
If you want something more flowy than rigid, watercolor style is definitely the right choice. By using concepts unique to watercolor painting, you can unlock a different aesthetic for your peacock tattoo.
You can use concepts like bleeding, splattering, and scumbling to really let your peacock tattoo shine. Below, you’ll see various techniques used in unique ways.
Try to see which watercolor techniques you recognize and see if you can incorporate them into your tattoo.
by Skeryone. (@skeryone_official on Instagram).
by Unknown artist
by Lauren Baker. (@lauren.bakerab on Instagram).
by sheanna. (@sheannatattoo on Instagram).
by congtam_microblading. (@congtam_microblading on Instagram).
by Ersan Coşkun. (@mavitattoo on Instagram).
Illustrative Peacock Tattoos
Illustrative tattoo style is basically a drawing on your skin. If you’re a fan of any particular drawing or painting, you can go for an illustrative style so you can translate the artwork into a tattoo.
by Grace. (@gracetattooer on Instagram).
by Hailee Marie. (@tattoosbyhaileemarie on Instagram).
by Pooja Bid. (@poojabid13 on Instagram).
by Diana Eva. (@dianaevaink on Instagram).
by kushal_bane. (@kushal_bane on Instagram).
by JONS. (@champijons on Instagram).
by magssnake.tattoo. (@magssnake.tattoo on Instagram).
by The Point Ink Tattoos. (@thepointink on Instagram).
by Sanil. (@sanil_tattooz on Instagram).
Black and Grey Peacock Tattoos
Black and grey style is similar to illustrative style, and they will sometimes overlap.
Black and grey style is characterized by the heavy use of grey ink, which is basically black ink diluted with distilled water to create a washed-out look for lighter shades.
This is a good style for you to adopt if you aren’t interested in coloring in your tattoos. The black and grey ink, when used together well, can be more than enough.
It does, however, demand a mastery over shading.
by Crystal Leach. (@leach_tattoos on Instagram).
by Skullture Tattoo. (@skullturetattoo on Instagram).
by schiffmacherveldhoentattooing. (@schiffmacherveldhoentattooing on Instagram).
by Isa. (@ashandwood on Instagram).
by AMO. (@amohectic on Instagram).
Peacock Back Tattoos
The back is the largest tattoo canvas there is. You can use the entire space for a large scale tattoo and not have to compromise on detail.
It’s difficult for a lot of design themes to make full use of the back since there’s so much of it to fill. But the peacock design theme is perfect.
Since peacock tails are often exaggerated in many works of art, peacock tattoo designs are usually bigger and more complex.
By using ornamentals and florals as secondary elements, you can quickly fill up your entire back with a peacock design theme without issue.
by Emac Tattoos. (@emactattoos_ on Instagram).
by FAUNE. (@faune_tattoo on Instagram).
Peacock Thigh Tattoos
Arguably the most popular location for peacock tattoos is on the thigh.
Since peacock designs usually emphasize the tail (often exaggerating the size for aesthetic reasons), there needs to be enough space.
The reason why the thigh appeals more to other people than the back is that the thigh has more visibility.
Even though the back undeniably provides more space for a bigger, more detailed design, the thigh is just much more visible.
And for a tattoo theme as colorful and complex as the peacock tattoo, you’re definitely going to want to show it off.
by John. (@john_tattoo_zeewolde on Instagram).
by Stone The Crow Tattoo. (@stonethecrowtattoo on Instagram).
by Kis Brigi. (@kisbrigi on Instagram).
by Marlowe Vincent. (@marlowelovescandy on Instagram).
by Sophie Moonbase. (@sophiemoonbasetattoo on Instagram).
by Ghost Town Tattoo Studio. (@ghosttown912 on Instagram).
by Jagoda Matuła. (@jagoda_matula on Instagram).
What does the peacock symbolize?
Many people adore the peacock for its mesmerizing display of movement and color. But what a lot of them don’t know is that peacocks are also powerful symbols of various ideas.
In this section, we’ll help you understand your peacock tattoo better. We’ve listed down the key symbolisms associated with peacocks and why those symbolisms happened.
Royalty & Wealth
A close-up of a peacock and its feathers which are flared up during its mating display (Source)
When Alexander the Great, on his conquest, saw a peacock for the first time, the Greeks quickly added the bird to their pantheon of deities.
In various images from the Hellenistic period, peacocks are seen pulling the chariot of the Greek Goddess, Hera. The Greeks saw the peacock’s blue feathers and gold rings as the sky and stars, of which Hera was the goddess.
The Greek Goddess Hera with her peacocks (Source)
This association lifted up the peacock as a symbol of the elite—blue bloods, unreachable like the sky and stars.
And the association was fitting. The peacock carried itself like a blue blood. It fit right in with the elite. It wore a crown above its head and its kingly cloak trailed closely behind.
But its regal appearance and proud demeanor aren’t the only reasons why the peacock is a symbol of royalty and wealth. It was also largely associated with the elite since it was a favorite delicacy among the tables of the wealthy.
They roasted it to a crisp golden brown and served it with the skin and feathers reattached. It was a feast for both the eyes and mouth. Truly mouthwatering.
But, as you can imagine, peacock meat was incredibly expensive (and it still is). So only the wealthy could ever get their hands on it.
You would also see houses of wealthy people adorned with peacock frescos and mosaics. Its vibrant plumage and regal appearance made it an object of social currency.
Ever since, the peacock has become a symbol for royalty and wealth.
Beauty & Attraction
A peacock gazes into the distance (Source)
The peafowl mating ritual is one of the most dazzling in the animal kingdom.
The phenomenon is called lek mating (or lekking) and is done by many species ranging from insects like ghost moths and fruit flies to mammals like fallow deer and bats.
During breeding season, peafowl gather around a wide expanse of land for the prospect of mating. And the way they do it is incredibly interesting.
The males let out a raucous cry to catch the females’ attention. They turn their backs around, rustle their white, fluffy tail feathers, whip back around, and finally—dazzle the female!
It’s mesmerizing. All of a sudden, your eyes are overwhelmed with the sight of iridescent, golden rings over a brilliant, blue background.
But it is worth noting how incredibly refined the color vision of birds is. They see so much more vividly than we do.
Aside from being able to see RGB light (the only light humans can see), birds can also see ultraviolet light. This superior color vision not only allows them to see food and hunt prey better…it also opens up an entirely new world that only animals with special eyes can see.
And birds have evolved with this in mind. Birds that seem plain-looking to us may actually have vibrant, multicolor plumes…we just can’t see them.
The colorful plumage of birds, unseen to the human eye (Source)
But think about how beautiful peacocks already are (even with our inferior RGB vision). What is merely bright and flashy to us…is likely spellbindingly hypnotic to them.
But sometimes, peacocks still fall short. If they ever fail to entice any visiting females, they’re going to have to wait till next season. By then, they’ll have shed their feathers for a newer, more beautiful batch.
But it’s because of these mesmerizing displays that peacocks have become symbols of beauty and attraction across the globe.
Renewal & Resurrection
The feathers of a peacock (Source)
The peacock is also a firm symbol of renewal and resurrection.
It is known to shed its feathers every year. When it does this, the feathers grow back much more beautiful than before.
And since females are so choosy about which peacock they mate with, this helps peacocks attract mates when the next mating season arrives.
In a way, the peacock is renewed and resurrected into a stronger form…similar to the phoenix—a mythical bird with a cyclical nature, known to self-immolate and resurrect from its ashes.
A Japanese depiction of the mythical phoenix bird that closely resembles the peacock (Source)
But the resemblance isn’t coincidental. The phoenix, in many of its depictions, is directly inspired by the peacock—everything from its iridescent plume to its long neck and tendency to “renew” itself.
In fact, many peacocks were killed unjustly in the search for a “real” phoenix. Some people actually believed in the myths and thought eating phoenix meat would make them immortal. The peacock was the most unfortunate victim of this ridiculousness.
But these reasons ultimately contributed towards the peacock’s being recognized as a symbol of renewal and resurrection.
A leucistic peacock, characterized by its white plumage (Source)
When a peacock is idle, it looks fairly modest. Its brilliant, blue neck and bright, green tail catch your eye, but it doesn’t look very striking.
But when mating season arrives, the peacock finally has an incentive to flaunt its hidden beauty.
While trying to impress a potential mate, the peacock raises its tail and ruffles its feathers. In a swift, powerful shaking motion, it fans its long-dormant, multi-color tail and dazzles the peahen.
This act of fanning the tail is seen by many as an act of showing its true colors—a symbol of integrity.
This also ties in well with its association with the mythical phoenix bird—a bird that represented goodness, peace, and integrity.
Peacock Tattoo FAQs
Why should I get a Peacock tattoo?
Peacock tattoos add a lot of aesthetic value. The colors and flowy nature of the feathers are great if you’re someone who likes ornamental designs.
If you’re into mandalas and art nouveau, then you’ll love peacock tattoos. Instead of a bare ornamental design, you’ll have a constant companion with you wherever you go.
It’s also a symbol of royalty, beauty, renewal, and integrity. So if you’re someone with a fresh perspective on life and a keen appreciation for beauty, then you will adore getting a peacock tattoo.
Where should I put my peacock tattoo?
By far, the most popular location for peacock tattoos is the thigh. It provides just enough space to fully showcase the peacock’s tail while having just enough visibility. Check out Cardi B’s peacock tattoo on her thigh.
Other popular locations for peacock tattoos are on the upper arm and back. Like the thigh, the upper arm provides just enough space but more visibility. The back, on the contrary, provides a lot of space for less visibility.
What’s great about the back is that you have so much more freedom to customize and add elements to your liking. The peacock also happens to be a great design for a traditional Japanese rendition.
If you’re interested in a peacock feather tattoo, then the best locations to get one are on the forearm and calf.
Peacock feather tattoos generally look best in medium size. Too small can diminish the capacity for detail while too large can look awkward and oddly terrifying rather than elegant and stylish.
And because peacock feather tattoos are longer than they are wide, the forearm and calf accommodate the design’s shape very well, no matter the orientation.
Ultimately, it depends on the size and shape of your overall design that dictates where you should put it.
Will it hurt?
- Size & complexity of design
- Pain tolerance
- Tattoo placement
Pain intensity varies wildly between each person. What might hurt for you might not hurt at all for someone else.
So before you go get your tattoo, go over the following points and ask your mom (and yourself) about her experience with pain.
Size & complexity of design
When it comes to peacock tattoos, there is a LOT of variation. Most of them are incredibly detailed. So if you’ve got an extremely low pain tolerance, you’re better off getting a minimalist version, or nothing at all.
Long story short—bigger, more complex tattoos take longer to finish. And if your pain tolerance is super low, you’re going to have some trouble dealing with the pain.
A lot of designs are very vibrant. Peacock tattoos generally look their best when done in color (although you can opt not to have color if the outline is clear enough). This demands a lot of focus (and thus time) from your artist. Even smaller designs like peacock feathers require immense amounts of detail and precision.
But this isn’t to say that simple peacock designs don’t exist or can’t be done. Of course they can. Peacock tattoos just generally look better when they’re detailed.
Detail is what makes the peacock tattoo theme so good. In real life, you’re overwhelmed with a mesmerizing iridescent pattern, and the best way to translate that into tattoo is color and detail.
In the end, it all comes down to preference. Some people get peacock tattoos purely for the meaning. And if that’s what you’re after, you’ll do fine without an over-the-top design.
What’s important is that you’re ready for the pain. If you want to mitigate the intensity of pain, we’ve prepared a couple of actionable pointers down below.
Some people have naturally low pain tolerances. This could be caused by a skin condition, thin skin, or recent emotional trauma. Pain tolerances vary from person to person, so it is a good idea to figure out how well you fare before booking an appointment.
But if you’re already committed to getting your tattoo, here are a few actionable ways to mitigate the pain:
- Get enough sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep before getting your tattoo, you’ll hinder your body’s natural healing process. (Important!)
- Stay sober. If you drink before getting your tattoo, get ready for some pain. Alcohol is classified as a blood thinner. When your blood thins, it is more prone to bleeding and bruising. (Important!)
- Stay hydrated. Drink enough water before getting your tattoo. It’ll help your skin stay supple throughout the session. It’ll also help your tattoo heal faster after your session.
- Moisturize. Hydrating your skin doesn’t just mean drinking plenty of water. You should also take the liberty of applying moisturizer to keep your skin nice and hydrated from the outside.
- Take breaks. There will be moments in your tattoo session where the pain will just be too much to handle. This is normal. When this happens, feel free to ask your artist for a short break.
Another factor that affects the intensity of pain you’ll experience is where you’ll place your tattoo.
What’s great about these locations is not only are they great for aesthetics, they’re also packed with fat and muscle. This means you’ll have a thick protective layer against the impact of the tattoo needle. Much less pain than in bonier areas like the wrist, ankles, and ribs.
But if you’re interested in a comprehensive discussion about which body parts hurt the most when getting tattooed, check out this article by Healthline on tattoo pain.
According to research, a person’s pain tolerance is directly affected by their experience with tattoos. This means that if you’ve had tattoos done in the past, you’ll likely feel less pain.
Peacocks are more than just a pretty pile of feathers. They’re symbols of royalty and wealth, beauty and attraction, renewal and resurrection, and integrity.
Did you enjoy these x tattoo designs or are you looking for more inspiration? Check out the following links to see more designs from talented artists.