Look at How Mythical Birds Were Portrayed and See What Powers They Had

Mythical or Mythological creatures and birds have been found in literature and folklore for hundreds of years. You may be most familiar with them in Greek mythology.

However, they are also commonly found in other stories such as Roman, Slavic, and Russian legends.

To recognize them in their respective fables, you must first know what makes up a mythical bird.

After that, you may begin to look at the Greek Bird God as well as birds that are similar to each other.

In addition to these birds, there are many other commonly known mythological creatures.

What is a Mythical Bird?

A mythical bird is a creature that has magical powers. Sometimes these birds are a combination of a bird along with another animal.

For example, The Griffin is a mixture of an eagle and a lion. The Griffin can be depicted as a lion’s body with an eagle’s head and wings – although sometimes it can be portrayed as wingless.

Other famous birds in mythology include the Phoenix, the Roc, the Caladrius, the Sirin, and the Alkonost. They range from being bird-like to a bird of prey, depending on the origin of the myth.

The Phoenix

This very famous creature is known in many cultures, including Egyptian, Persian, Greek, Oriental, and Christianity. It has always been portrayed as a bird with brightly colored plumage.

The brightly colored feathers represent fire. In the story of the Phoenix, the old bird dies but rises from its own ashes.

This creature often looks like a heron or a peacock – a long-beaked, long-tailed bird.

The Phoenix represents both death and rebirth. Its “magical power” is that it has the ability to come back to life after its self inflicted death.

The Roc

Legend has it that this gigantic bird had the ability to carry off anything as large as the size of an elephant.

The Roc

It was cited in The Thousand and One Nights as well as by Marco Polo and Kublai Kahn.

The Roc was also mentioned in stories featuring Sinbad the Sailor – when the creature dropped a large rock on the ship.

Some people have described the Roc as simple as a “big bird” that looks like an eagle.

Others have said that it is so large that its wingspan reaches over 48 feet.

Rumors have been told that the Roc fed on elephants and its young fed on grown humans.

The Caladrius

The beautiful Caladrius waterbird has been compared to pigeons, seagulls, owls, herons, ibises, and falcons.

It is known as a “healing bird” that is able to cure patients while looking at them. It has been said that it can also predict whether or not a person with an illness will live.

This small creature, approximately the size of a dove, is pictured as pure white.

If a person were to be on death’s doorstep, all they would have to do is touch it to be healed. The Caladrius is found in both Judaism and European cultures.

The Sirin

Not to be confused with the mythological creature of the sea – the Siren, the Sirin is also said to sing beautiful songs that only a select few can hear.

While singing, the Sirin has the ability to make those who hear them follow them without question.

A Sirin looks like a large, dark-bodied bird with the head of a beautiful woman. The beautiful woman is often wearing a crown or has a halo above her head.

The Sirin is also believed to be unexceptionably fast because while they may have been seen, one has never been caught.

The Alkonost

Potentially related to the Siren, the Alkonost is also bird-like with a bird body and woman head.

It can be commonly found in Russian mythology. It is not only beautiful but like the Siren, it exudes a beautiful sound that makes people hypnotized.

This creature is often found near the ocean because this is where her young are born.

It is also believed that she has the ability to adjust or control the weather. She is found in both Slavic and Russian fables.

Other Mythical Birds

There are many, many other birds that can be found in folklore, fables, oral history, legends, and mythology.

Each bird has its own physical description as well as their own magical abilities. Other commonly known mythological birds include:

  • The Hoopoe – although it is typically seen around graveyards, it boasts healing powers
  • The Cinnamalogus – a creature who hoarded cinnamon stick in their nest – the best cinnamon one could ever find
  • The Liderc – a Hungarian creature that looks like a chicken, but is featherless – there are many different versions of this myth
  • The Strige – also known as a Strix, hails from Greek, followed by Roman mythology.

    The meaning behind the Strige, or Strix, has multiple, undesirable connotations such as not being able to eat or drink.

Who is the Greek God of Birds?

There is a list of multiple “sacred” birds – not only in mythology but out of it, too. The Bird Gods, according to Greek tradition, is Anthus.

Young Anthus was attacked by his father’s horse and was subsequently killed. Zeus, the Greek God, felt pity for the family and transformed the entire family into birds.

See Also: Heather Birds: Exploring The Mythology And Symbolism Of These Enchanting Creatures

Anthus, specifically, was transformed to look like a bird but made a neigh sound like a horse.

However, anytime the mythological creature Anthus was around a horse, he would flee the area to protect himself.

What Bird is Similar to a Phoenix?

While the Phoenix is one of the most commonly known mythological creatures, in more than just the Greek culture, it is important to understand its meaning.

The Phoenix is described as an amazingly beautiful bird that is able to live for thousands of years.

Upon the death of the Phoenix bird, it is able to resurrect itself from its own ashes and live again.

The most common symbolism of the Phoenix is life and death, but there is another bird that is similar to the Phoenix. The Bennu bird is a bird that is most commonly associated with the Phoenix.


A Bennu bird has some traits that are similar to the Phoenix, in that it is able to rise in beautiful glory with the sunrise.

Additionally, it is believed that the Bennu gives birth to the Phoenix even though when a Phoenix dies it can raise itself again.

To clarify, the Bennu represents the God of the sun, Ra which is associated with the creation of life.

This creature has been seen representing both the rising sun and the setting sun.

In addition to the birds of mythology, there are many creatures of mythology that are commonly known. There are also some that may be unknown to you.

What is a Mythical Creature Called?

There are numerous different mythological creatures, many that you may have heard of. Then, of course, there are also some that may be new to you.

Check out the description of the following mythological creatures – how many of them do you recognize?

The Kraken

The Kraken

A commonly-known sea creature that is able to use its tentacles to take down a large ship.

It has typically been described as a creature similar to an octopus, but much larger. The reason for taking down the ship is to feed itself.

The Unicorn

This creature is commonly found in Greek mythology. It is typically described as a goat or a horse with one horn stemming from the center of its forehead.

The Unicorn has also been found in Chinese and Indian culture. Its magical powers supposedly protected people who drank from the horn – those people would be protected.

The Centaur

This mythological creature is probably one of the most famous, next to the unicorn and Pegasus.

This creature is not a bird and it is not giant, The Centaur is part man and part horse.

If you’re not familiar, from the torso up it looks like a human, while from the waist down it looks like a horse.


While the Pegasus creature can be technically considered a centaur, it is typically seen as a flying horse with wings (versus half man, half horse).

Pegasus has been commonly associated with Poseidon – God of the Waters.

The reason he is associated with the God of the Waters is that he was able to create water streams. Poseidon may also be the original Pegasus’ father.


This infamous woman had giant snakes atop her head and was able to hypnotize her prey.

She was also described as having hands that were made of bronze as well as wings that were made of gold.

As legend has it, if anyone were to look at the snakes atop the head of the giant woman, they would be frozen. The only way to stop Medusa in her tracks was to cut her head off.

Other Mythological Creatures


In addition to these famous mythological creatures, you might be familiar with the following, popular mythological creatures:

  • Elves – these creatures are associated with helping Santa build toys during Christmastime
  • Fairies – these tiny creatures with wings who are able to help in their own ways
  • Dragons – are fire breathing, flying creatures who are commonly seen in Asian culture
  • Mermaids – are part human and part fish who live in the sea
  • Werewolves – a mixture of a human who has the power to transform into a wolf-like creature
  • Vampires – are typically bloodsucking creatures who were made popular by the Dracula series
Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.