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Ear Wings

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We hear it's a good way to get around.

A trope mainly seen in fantasy: a character or creature is gifted with huge ears, possibly as large as their body.

Those ears don't just mundanely grant keen hearing: they can somehow flap, and are strong enough to actually give the power of Flight.

Don't expect the actual physics or biology behind this to be anything but handwaved.

Sometimes, the ears may even look more like real wings, with or without feathers, attached to the head rather than actual ears.

A Sub-Trope of Unusual Ears.

When the ears are instead spinning like a rotor, it falls into Heli-Critter. Compare Hair Wings, Mercury's Wings, and Helicopter Hair.


    open/close all folders 

  • In Flower Fairy, rabbit-like creatures Shijia and Feitian use their long ears to fly.
  • In Tik Tak Tail, Tik the rabbit can use his ears to fly.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Accel World: In the anime's first OVA "Reverberation," Nega Nebulous finds themselves pulled into the now defunct predecessor to Brain Burst called Accel Assault. In doing so, the characters each transform into an amalgamation of their combat and school avatars. This results in Haruyuki appearing in his pink pig form, but with feathery (and flight capable) wings for ears in reference to his Silver Crow form.
  • Sanrio's Cinnamoroll. A puppy who was born from the sky, that would use his long ears to fly.
  • The demoness Syren from Devilman is within the subtrope of having large wings attached to her head.
  • Doraemon Film Series:
  • Galaxy Angel: Mint Blancmanche can sometimes fly with her ears, though unlike most examples hers are rather small and should not be able to support her. Rule of Funny is at play here depending on the episode.
  • Patamon, Terriermon, Lopmon, and Culumon from Digimon can fly with their large ears. Though whether Patamon's are actually ears or just wings growing out of his head is up for debate. And Terriermon more rides air currents than flies.
  • Peridot from Jewelpet has ears vaguely similar to wings that she can use to fly (she's a dog). Io's floppy ears also allowed him to fly in the first season (he's a rabbit).
  • In Natsume's Book of Friends episode "The Maiden's Circle", a small youkai Natsume asks about the youkai that cursed Taki flies using its oversized ears.
  • Baku from Sanrio's Onegai My Melody series, can extend his ears and use them to fly.
  • A manga story based on Tamagotchi shows that Yumemitchi can stretch her ears, and she at one point flies around with her Tama-Friends using her ears as wings. This story is All Just a Dream, though.

    Comic Books 
  • In one strip of Game Over (a spin-off to Kid Paddle), the Little Barbarian gains Ear Wings by drinking a potion. He can then fly on top of a stone pillar to rescue the Princess; unfortunately, she's startled by his appearance and screams, which deafens the hero and makes him fall to his death.

    Films — Animation 
  • Walt Disney's Dumbo, of course. The whole story is about young elephant Dumbo trying to turn his embarrassingly huge ears into an asset by learning how to fly with them, with the help of a Magic Feather.


    Myths & Religion 
  • From South American mythology, the Chonchon is a severed head enchanted by a kalkus (mapuche sorcerer) which take the form of a human head with feathers and talons, and very large ears acting a wings.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In Dumbo's Circus, the adult Dumbo can still fly with his ears, including while pulling a wagon full of his friends behind him in the opening credits.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Crosses into Body Horror with the Vargouille in Dungeons & Dragons. This monster is a flying head with tentacles that turns people into other Vargouilles by kissing them. And it has bat wings in place of ears.
  • RuneQuest has the Chonchon (see above), a creature from the spirit world that manifests as a deformed head flying with its gigantic ears.

    Video Games 
  • Milla Basset from Freedom Planet can fly by flapping her ears.
  • Happy Tree Friends Adventures: The rainbow critters have large ears allowing them to fly.
  • In Kaze and the Wild Masks, donning the eagle mask causes Kaze's ears to grow feathers and become makeshift wings.
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land: Kirby's Fairy Companion Elfilin can fly using his massive ears. Even a notable Ear Notch isn't enough to impede his flight. The Big Bad Fecto Forgo gains even larger ears to fly with after it merges with Elfilin.
  • Klonoa: Klonoa can glide for a few seconds with the help of his rather long ears.
  • The Remlits in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword use their ears for flight.
  • Pokémon:
    • Dragonair have wings where their ears should be. Unlike the anime (which has it fly with them in the second Pikachu short and a Journeys episode), it's usually seen more swimming or floating in the games.
    • Sky Forme Shaymin, growing antler-like wings as part of gaining the Flying type.
  • Cream the Rabbit from Sonic the Hedgehog can fly with her ears.
  • Mario from Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins flies with his bunny ears when he has the Magic Carrot powerup. Otherwise, the bunny ears are more for slowing your descent instead of flying. They can send you impressive distances if you quickly tap the button repeatedly rather than holding it to hover, though.
  • In Tales of the Abyss, Team Pet Mieu can learn to do this if you follow a certain sidequest chain. He does it naturally in The Anime of the Game.
  • In Vib-Ribbon, getting a high enough score causes Vibri to float up offscreen using her ears as wings.
  • In the Xenoblade Chronicles series, the Nopon race have a downplayed version of this. Their wings are connected to the back of their heads in a very earlike position, and resemble ears when held upright, but don't seem to be their actual ears. As a bonus, they also use their wings as hands more often than their actual hands.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Stone Trek episode "The Deadly Ears", Mr. Sprock has his Pointy Ears stung by a couple of alien bees, causing them to swell so large they stick out the sides of the stoneship Magnetize, and at one point he flaps them to make the ship move backwards.

  • One panel of Schlock Mercenary shows that the Enireth (a species evolved from some fresh-water amphibioids) were flying thanks to their elongated ears for a substantial part of their evolution.

  • The imps on Gaia Online have literal wings for ears and they can use them to fly. That they can do this in humanoid form is somehow more confusing than when they can do this as Waddling Heads.

    Western Animation 
  • Alias the Jester: Alias's pet, a doglike alien creature named Boswell, has a pair of small but functional wings sprouting from his head. There's reason to believe that Alias (never seen without a hat that covers the sides of his head) does too.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra:
    • In "The Guide", Jinora is seen playing with some spirits looking like multicolored bunnies with dragonfly wings instead of ears, allowing them to fly. Later in season 3, one of them becomes good friend with Bumi and follows him everywhere.
    • Another kind of spirits looks like gerbils with very large ears, also used for flying. They too tend to flock to Jinora, and she uses one "Original Airbenders" to send a distress message to her uncle Bumi.
  • In the Blackstar cartoon, Gossamer the Trobbit is a gnome with large ears allowing him to fly.
  • In a Fractured Fairy Tales-styled Dexter's Laboratory episode, Deedeelocks can make her ears grow by telling lies. She uses her giant ears to fly herself and her friends off into the sunset.
  • Sticking to the "insult everyone" theme, Family Guy portrays Ben Stiller as having this ability.
  • Looney Tunes: Bugs Bunny uses his ears to gain flight twice:
    • He uses them like a helicopter to escape from Yosemite Sam of Outer Space in "Lighter Than Hare".
    • His ears suddenly turn into bat wings when he says "abraca-pocus" in "Transylvania 6-5000".
  • Oswald the Lucky Rabbit occasionally uses his long floppy ears to fly as a quick visual gag, such as in "Oh What a Knight" when he uses them to escape falling into an alligator-filled moat.
  • A Hanna-Barbera Pixie, Dixie and Mr. Jinks short has Dixie learn to fly by flapping his ears.
  • Kowl, from She-Ra: Princess of Power, pictured above. He seems to be a hybrid of a koala and an owl (hence his name), and uses his ears as wings. Although his flight appears to be magic and quite apart from how he flaps his ears. Note how, in "The Secret of the Sword", his response to getting startled is to freeze — and he just stay there sitting frozen in mid-air.
  • The Simpsons: A gag from the 2017 season is to parody Jeff Sessions as having mobile ears, which he sometimes flaps around to fly.
  • The titular character of Vipo is a dog who can fly using his huge ears. This allows him to travel the world.
  • In the Wakfu OVA The Legend of Ogrest, the title character finds by accident that his large ears allow him to fly by flapping very fast (hummingbird-like fast, in fact). It's quite instinctive at the start and Ogrest has a hard time controlling it, leading to a few crashes.

    Real Life 
  • All squids have these (well, more like ear fins); especially the bigfin squid. Of special mention are two cephalopods that are not true squids, though closely related. The first is the "Dumbo Octopus" (Grimpoteuthis), and the second is the "Vampire Squid" (Vampyroteuthis). A subversion, as the "ear wings" have nothing to do with hearing and aren't even found on the mollusks' equivalent of a head; they're simply located on a part of the mantle which looks a little like a head, one on each side.


Video Example(s):



Possibly the most famous example of them all; the flying elephant with big wings that allow him to fly.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / EarWings

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