We’re not talking about what to name your chihuahua or tabby cat here. We mean baby names inspired by the animal kingdom — with your future son or daughter soaring through life as a dashing Hawk or darling Robin, for example.
One of the most popular hits of our day, Ava still calls up the image of sultry Hollywood beauty Ava Gardner. However, you may not know that the name also means “like a bird” in Hebrew.
Between 1983 and 1999, Rachel was a top 20 name for girls, particularly during the Friends era, thanks to Jennifer Aniston’s popular character. While its meaning of “female sheep” isn’t so glamourous, Rachel will forever remain a timeless name for any girl.
Phoenix means “deep red,” and is the name of the colorful, mythical bird reputed to live for a thousand years before erupting into flames and then rising again from its own ashes. As far as boy names go (although it is considered a unisex), this is a pretty cool one and has some rock n’ roll street-cred thanks to the Phoenix acting clan including Joaquin and the late River.
There’s a great story with this name: the word Melissa originates from a mythological Greek nymph who fed honey to the infant god Zeus and was later transformed into a bee (the bee’s knees, right?).
Eden, the biblical paradise home of Adam and Eve, is where Adam names the animals. The serene-sounding moniker is a great choice if you’re looking for a name that’s slightly out-of-the-box, but not too unique.
“Penelope” is perfect for bird lovers, as it’s also a bird genus in the family Cracidae consisting of a number of large turkey-like arboreal species, the typical guans. Also just a beautiful name.
From the Hebrew name דְּבוֹרָה (Devorah) meaning “bee.” In the Old Testament Book of Judges, Deborah is a heroine and prophetess who leads the Israelites when they are threatened by the Canaanites. She forms an army under the command of Barak, and together they destroy the army of the Canaanite commander Sisera. So, yeah, a bad-ass name.
Meaning “lion” in both Latin and English, Leo is a popular name in ancient Rome and the name of thirteen popes. The lion is a figure in art and religious symbolism of many cultures symbolizing royalty, grandeur, and courage — as well as a supermodel-dating movie star.
Hebrew: Dove. Also, in the Bible, Jonah the prophet was swallowed by a great fish and safely emerged from his belly three days later.
Gaelic: Little raven
English: Hunting bird; When this name was created, hunting with hawks was considered an aristocratic sport.
Latin: Bull; Taurus is a constellation picturing the forequarters of a bull and is a sign of the zodiac.
Originally a familiar form of names such as Jacob, James, and Jason, Jay is now a given name in its own right. This unisex name also refers to several species of a large family of birds.
English for “bright with fame.” Robin is well-known to children and adults alike as the name of Winnie the Pooh”s boy companion Christopher Robin. Also: the American robin is a migratory songbird.
A small short-winged songbird found chiefly in the New World. Also English for “from the farm.”
French and Latin: Lioness; feminine form of Leon.
English: The bird teal; also the blue-green color.
English: Lark, a songbird; used predominantly for girls, but no reason it can’t be unisex.
The name is derived from a diminutive of the Latin ursa, which means “bear.” Also Ariel’s nemesis.
Greek: Gazelle; the biblical woman who abounded in good deeds and gifts of mercy
Hebrew: Little dove.
English: young lion. Also an ’80s singer who encourages Dancing on the Ceiling.
Hebrew: Gazelle or hind (female roe deer), suggestive of a graceful, shy animal.
German: Noble leader. Derived from the Irish word uan (lamb).
A girl’s name of French origin meaning “songbird.”
Introduced to England by the Normans, Rosalind is of Germanic origin. It is a derivative of the Old High German Roslindis, a compound name composed of the elements hros (horse) and hrôs (fame) and lind (gentle, tender, soft).
French: Young wolf.
English: Lioness; a variant of Leona.