Origami Flapping Bird

Flapping Bird

Now that my blog is one month old, it seems like a good time to post The Traditional Flapping Bird.  This is a great origami model to fold with children and one that holds a very special place for me.  It was how I got started with origami in the first place!

It is very similar to the Crane but simpler. The tail, neck and head are all slightly thicker and the wings aren’t angled outwards.  The Flapping Bird sacrifices some of the elegance of that model in favour of the action that makes the wings flap.

It’s a very simple model, taking about five to ten minutes. It’s not many steps more than a bird base.  Just about any paper will do, although I’d avoid really thin stuff like tissue paper as this will probably rip quite easily.  Kami or ordinary printer paper works well.  If you’re making it with a group of children, then newspaper, or the pages of an old magazine are also good, inexpensive choices.

This model is also used in my post – An Origami Story.

Time to fold: Five to ten minutes
Difficulty: Simple
Paper: Avoid really thin papers. Kami or printer paper recommended

Origami Flapping Bird Diagrams

1. Start with a Bird Base. Instructions hereCompleted Bird Base
2. Fold the bottom left flap back up along the outside edge so it points out at an angle, UnfoldFold bottom left point up and unfold
3. Inside reverse-fold the bottom left flap up along the crease made in the previous stepInside reverse fold bottom left point
4. Fold the bottom right flap up and unfold, just as you did previously on the leftFold bottom right point up and unfold
5. Reverse fold the bottom right flap up Inside reverse fold bottom point
6. Fold the head down at an angle of your choice, There are no reference points for this – whatever you think looks goodFold the head down and unfold
7. Reverse fold the head downReverse fold the head
You have completed the flapping birdCompleted Flapping Bird

To make the bird flap:

Flapping motion for the Flapping Bird

Hold at the base of the neck with one hand.

Hold the tail in the other hand. Pull backwards and forwards away from the model to make the wings flap.

Note: You may have to wiggle the wings up and down a few times before you start to get a good flapping motion.

Get Involved

I’d love to hear your views on this origami flapping bird or any other beginner origami models.  Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below, or you find can me on Instagram or Twitter. Check out my Pinterest boards too!

If you enjoyed this post, here are some more to check out:

About the Author


Russell has been folding origami since he was 8 years old and has recently written the book, Origami Made Simple. He is on the Council for the British Origami Society and a member of OrigamiUSA. When he is not folding, he enjoys photography and traveling.

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