In mythology and fiction (usually fantasy and science fiction) bird people are a race of people who resemble, or who are evolved from, birds. This is a common motif in movies, TV, and video games. Sometimes, the bird people are a "lost race".
- The winged gods of Mesopotamian mythology: Anzu/Zu, Siris, Lammasu/Shedu
- The gods Horus and Thoth of Ancient Egyptian religion, often depicted as humans with the heads of a falcon and an ibis, respectively.
- The Garuda, eagle-god mount of Vishnu in Hindu mythology, was pluralized into a class of bird-like beings in Buddhist mythology
- The Faravahar of Zoroastrianism
- The Angels of Abrahamic mythology, often depicted with bird-like wings in Christian iconography
- Lei Gong, a Chinese thunder god, often depicted as a Garuda-like bird man
- Greek mythology: Nike (mythology), Boreas, Eros, the Gorgon sisters
- The Tengu of Japanese folklore, monstrous forest and mountain dwelling humanoids often possessing the wings, claws and sometimes the beak of a bird.
- The Swan maidens found in the folktales of various cultures
- Tangata manu of Easter Island, often depicted as a Frigate bird/Human hybrid
- On his 7th Voyage, Sinbad witnessed a race of winged humans in Indochina
- The second people of the world in Southern Sierra Miwok mythology, as reported by Barrett
- Alkonost, Gamayun and Sirin in Russian mythology
Examples of the bird-people motif in science fiction and fantasy fiction include:
- Otis Adelbert Kline wrote a short story for Weird Tales titled "The Bird People".
- The race of bird people led by Stratos in the Masters of the Universe cartoon series (and line of toys)
- The bird people of Brontitall in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, led by the Wise Old Bird — Douglas Adams has the bird people evolving from humans who are so sick of buying shoes that they evolve into bird-like creatures and never set foot on the ground again. (See Shoe Event Horizon.) This is unusual, in that the motif involves bird-people evolving from humans, rather than birds.
- The race from which the character Hawk came in the television series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century — The race of bird people in Buck Rogers had been hunted to extinction by humans, with Hawk as its sole survivor.
- The bird people featured in "Tarzan & the Bird People", episode 17 of Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle (a 1976 cartoon series)
- The bird people ruled by Prince Vultan (Brian Blessed) in the cult film Flash Gordon.
- The Ryuujin in the anime Tenkuu no Escaflowne. While the ryuujin translate to dragon people, their wings are clearly feathered and the dragon of their name is likely symbolic.
- The race of garuda in fantasy author China Miéville's world Bas-Lag as featured in Perdido Street Station.
- In J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, a race of magical creatures called Veela appear as extraordinarily beautiful women, but turn into frightening birdlike creatures when angered.
- The 1943 animated Superman short "The Underground World" has the Man of Steel and Lois Lane discovering a race of evil Falcon-men in caverns deep below the earth.
- Aarakocra a race of bird-like humanoids in the Dungeons and Dragons fantasy role-playing game.
- The Biata in the NERO International LARP game are a playable race of bird-like humanoids descended from gryphons.
- The Japanese movie The Bird People of China features a remote village in China where people have the knowledge to fly like birds.
- The Aven are a bird race from Otaria in the Magic: The Gathering novels and collectible card game.
- The cartoon show Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series depicts the main characters as anthropomorphised ducks who play hockey and fight evil.
- Maximum Ride(novel series) features six bird-human hybrids
- In Gunnerkrigg Court, one chapter focuses on the character Kat befriending a boy who is gradually turning into a bird.
- Bird Human, a Protoculture bio-mechanical mecha from the Japanese animated series Macross Zero.
In video games
Examples of the bird-people motif in video games include:
- S. A. Barrett (1919-03-27). "Myths of the Southern Sierra Miwok". University of California Publications in American Archeology and Ethnology 16(1) 1 – 28.
- Bestia Mortale (1999). "Death Is In the Air: Egyptian Sirens Came to Ancient Greece to Ease Souls' Path to Persephone". Widdershins 5(5)