The phrase "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" means that it is better to definitely have one of something than only the possibility of two. The phrase as it is known today originated in medieval times.
The origin of this proverb dates back to days of medieval falconry. The falcon, the "bird in the hand," was a more valuable asset than the prey — the "two in the bush."
The first known citation in print is in "A Handbook of Proverbs" by John Ray. The earliest English language version of the proverb is located the Bible in Ecclesiastes IX. This version of the proverb says: "a living dog is better than a dead lion.".