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Collective nouns and terms for groups of animals other groups including birds.

 

Collective Nouns

Ever wondered what the collective
noun is for various groups of animals, birds or insects? Here are some of
the obvious and not so obvious.

I would like to point out that these terms have not been officially
“authenticated”. 

 

TERMS FOR GROUPS OF
ANIMALS, BIRDS AND INSECTS


ANIMAL/SPECIES


COLLECTIVE NOUN/TERM

ANTELOPESA
HERD

of antelopes.
ANTS

A
COLONY
of ants.                                              

Melissa Bee

An
ARMY

of ants.

A
STATE
or SWARM of
ants.

APES

A SHREWDNESS
of apes

ASSES

A HERD or
PACE

of asses

A
DROVE

of asses.

BABOONSA
TROOP

of baboons

 Michael
Haberl

A
FLANGE
of baboons

Judith Rich

A CONGRESS
of baboons.

John Provost

BACTERIAA
COLONY

of bacteria.

Micribiologists call groups of bacteria
COLONIES. A culture would consist of many colonies.

Ron Orts

A
CULTURE

of bacteria.                                        

Chris Moffatt

BADGERS

A CETE of badgers

BARRACUDASA
BATTERY

of barracudas.
BASSA
SHOAL

of bass.                                
                   

Melissa Bee.

BATSA
COLONY

of bats.                              
                   

Melissa Bee.

A CLOUD
of bats.

Keith Harris

BEARS

A SLOTH or
SLEUTH

of bears

BEAVERSA
COLONY

of beavers.

A FAMILY
of beavers.

BEES

A GRIST, HIVE, SWARM, DRIFT or BIKE
of bees

A
CLUSTER, ERST
or NEST of bees.

BIRDS

A FLOCK, FLIGHT, or PARCEL
of birds.
A POD of
birds (small flock)
A VOLARY of
birds (in an aviary)
A BRACE = a
pair of gamebirds or waterfowl *  

* Melissa Bee.

A
DISSIMULATION

of birds.                                 

Phillip Joss

BISONA
HERD

of bison.
BITTERNSA
SEDGE

of bitterns.                            
                  

Melissa Bee.

BOAR (WILD)

A SOUNDER or
SINGULAR

of wild boar

BOBOLINKSA
CHAIN

of bobolinks (whatever they might be!!) 


Melissa Bee.

Just in case there is anyone else out
there who, like me, doesn’t know what a Bobolink is I have been
reliably informed by Amelia B., that it
is a small bird.  The male is black and white with a yellow cap
on his head and the female is golden brown with brown markings.

Another name for a bobolink is a
whippoorwill
***
(their call sounds a little like someone saying the word
whippoorwill).

Thanks to
Eric Pittenger for this additional information.

*** 
Apparently this is not the case.

Clarice
Olle
has been kind enough to point out that the above is in fact
incorrect.

A bob-o-link (short for Robert
of Lincoln) is NOT the same bird as a whippoorwill.


John Canepa as
also provided the following information:

Bobolinks and whippoorwills
are two different birds. The bobolink is a small-medium size bird
dwelling in open fields where it makes its nest on the ground and has
one of the most amazing and hysterical songs ever. The whippoorwill
is a medium size bird, active at night, with plumage so as that you
practically step on them as they rest on the forest floor. An
interesting note about the whippoorwill is that they will come to rest
in a circle, with their tails all facing in so that they can be
protected from danger.

Susan
Vanderveen
also confirms – I respectively submit
the information that a Bobolink and Whip-poor-will are not two terms for
one bird. They are two very distinct species.

BUCK

A
BRACE OR CLASH
of bucks.                      


Michael Haberl

I was looking at your
wonderful list of animal collectives for my website (everbosity.wordpress.com)
and came across the use of “brace”
several times, firstly under birds. A brace is a pair of anything and
not specifically related to any animal. A player can score a brace
of goals in a football match for example. I wouldn’t consider it a
collective title.

Tench
Ringgold

BUDGERIGARS A
CHATTER

of budgerigars. 

BUFFALO

A HERD, TROUP, GANG or OBSTINACY
of buffalo

BULLOCKSA
DROVE

of bullocks.
BUTTERFLIESA
SWARM

or RABBLE of butterflies.

A
KALEIDOSCOPE

of butterflies.                 

Christina Gonzales

A
FLUTTER

of butterflies.            
                     

Priscilla Weikert 

A RAINBOW 
of butterflies.

Amy Black

BUZZARDSA
WAKE

of buzzards.                           
                 

Melissa Bee

CAMELSA
CARAVAN, FLOCK or TRAIN
of camels.
CARIBOUA
HERD

of caribou.

CATERPILLARS
An
ARMY
of caterpillars.                       
                  

Melissa Bee

CATS

A
CLOWDER

of cats.    (sent in by Paul Chapin)
A POUNCE of
cats.
A KINDLE, LITTER OR INTRIGUE 
(for kittens)


                                                                        Melissa
Bee 

A
CLUTTER
of cats.

A
COMFORT
of cats.                                           

Gary Goldring

A
CHOWDER

of cats
.

Amy Black

A COLONY
of cats (usually wild cats)

Jennifer Bradley

CATTLE

A HERD, DROVE or DRIFT
of cattle.
A MOB of
cattle (US and Australia*)

*John Slay

“Cattle” refers to both male and female cows.

Gwendolyn Cannon

Gwendolyn Cannon suggests that ‘Cattle’ refers to both male and female
cows. You must be joshing me Gwendolyn. There is no such thing as a male
cow ! He’s either a “Bull” or a “steer/Ox”. I’ll bet you did that on
purpose just to see how many responses you get, didn’t you ?

Donald Gillis

Additional Clarification

Although Donald is, of course, correct, in defence
of Gwendolyn I think she was using the term ‘cow’ colloquially as it is
quite difficult to think of a
term which covers both sexes (hence the use of the term ‘cattle’ in
the first place.

According to
Oxford Dictionaries – the definition of ‘cattle’ is ‘large ruminant
animals with horns and cloven hoofs, domesticated for meat or milk, or
as beasts of burden; cows and oxen
.’

Another term for male cattle is ‘bullock’.  A
bullock is a male domestic bovine animal that has been castrated and is
raised for beef.

CHEETAHSA
COALITION
of cheetahs          
                     

Lisa Ashley Mayock

CHICKEN

A BROOD, CLUTCH,
flock, run or PEEP

of chicken

CHICKSA
CLUTCH OR CHATTERING
  of chicks.

 Michael
Haberl

CHOUGHSA
CHATTERING

of choughs.
CLAMSA
BED

of clams                                             

Clyde Hogendobler

COATI
(COATIMUNDI)
A
BAND
  of coati (coatimundi)
COBRASA
QUIVER

of cobras                                       

Michael Haberl

COCKROACHESAn
INTRUSION
of cockroaches.                                


Melissa Bee

COLTSA
RAG

of colts.
COOTSA
COVERT

or COVER* of coots.     
                       

*Melissa Bee

CORMORANTSA
GULP (SOLITUDE)
* OR
FLIGHT

of cormorants.  

                                                            
*Melissa Bee

COWSA
HERD

of cows.

Patricia
Ellistone

A
KINE*

of cows (12 cows are a FLINK)             

Michael Haberl

* This term is not widely used
these days and is considered archaic by some.


“Kine” refers to only female cows (like a dairy herd).
“Cattle” refers to both male and female cows.

Gwendolyn Cannon


SEE ALSO “CATTLE”
above for other terms.


COYOTEA
PACK

of coyotes

A TRAIN
of coyotes                                                                               
Donald Kross

A BAND
of coyotes                                                                                       
Michael Haberl  

A ROUT
of coyotes       

                                                                                              
Bud Stockwell

CRABSA
BUSHEL***
of crabs
                                              

Kristen Reece

A CAST
of crabs

C. MacIntire

 

***For
your information, a bushel of crabs is what you call it if you are
buying crabs to eat. Bushel is the measurement of how many you will buy
(i.e. Half a bushel, two bushels). Its like buying meat in pounds at the
deli. eaten. I believe a group of live crabs is called a cast.


Steve Miller
has also pointed out that

it is incorrect to apply this label to certain specific species e.g.
a bushel of crabs as you could equally have a bushel of corn.

 

CRANES

A HERD, SEIGE or
SEDGE
* of cranes               

* fMelissa Bee

CROCODILESA
CONGREGATION

or NEST

A BASK
or FLOAT of crocodiles.                     


Michael Haberl

A

STRIKER

(unconfirmed)                                                   


Mike Paget

CROWS

A
HOVER
,
MUSTER, or
PARCEL

of crows.

A
MURDER
of crows         

Jill
Dobbs,  Rachael  Blomeley and anon.

A HORDE of
crows.                                            


Melissa Bee 

A
PARLIAMENT

of crows.

Jill Dean

CUBS

A LITTER of cubs

CURLEW

A HERD of curlew

CURSA
COWARDICE
of curs.                                  


Michael Haberl

DEER

ROE DEER

A HERD, LEASH or MOB
of deer

A
BEVY

of roe deer.                          
                   

Melissa Bee

DOGFISHA
TROOP
of dogfish

DOGS

A PACK (wild dogs) or KENNEL
of dogs
A COWARDICE
of curs.                   
)
A LITTER of
puppies.                                              

 Melissa Bee   

DOLPHINSA
SCHOOL

of dolphins.

A
POD

of dolphins.                             
                  

Audrie Dugger 

DONKEYSA
HERD

or PACE of donkeys/asses        
                

Melissa Bee

& Michael
Haberl

DOTTERELA
TRIP

of dotterel.                                
                   

Melissa Bee

Apparently a Dotterel is a rare plover
of upland areas of Eurasia.

Thanks to
Linwood Lyons for supplying this useful information.

Dotterels breed on our
beach near Nelson, New Zealand, in the southern summer. They
then migrate to Siberia for the northern summer, and so on.
They are quite small dainty birds, you would never guess
that they have such stamina.

Robert Bull

DOVES

A FLIGHT,
DULE

or DOLE of doves.
A PITYING of
turtle doves.                                          

Melissa Bee

A
PLAGUE of doves

Jay Johnson

DUCKS

A RAFT, PADDLING or BUNCH
of ducks on water.
A TEAM,
BRACE, BED, FLIGHT OR FLOCK*
of wild ducks in
flight.

Melissa Bee

A
BADLING
of ducks.

Gordon Potts

I was looking at your wonderful list of animal collectives for my
website (everbosity.wordpress.com) and came across the use of
“brace”

several times, firstly under birds. A brace is a pair of anything and
not specifically related to any animal. A player can score a brace of
goals in a football match for example. I wouldn’t consider it a
collective title.

Tench
Ringgold

DUNLINS

A FLING of dunlins

EAGLESA
CONVOCATION

of eagles.

A
CONGREGATION

of eagles.

 Mike Field


EELS
An
ARRAY

of eels.

John Beumer

A
SEETHING

of eels.

David
Thomson

ELEPHANTS

A HERD or
PARADE*

of elephants          


*also Raila and Jon Foley


A
CRASH
of elephants.                     
                         

Susan Walsh

ELK

A HERD of elk.
A GANG of
elk (US)

EMUSA
MOB

of emus.                                             

Michael Haberl

FERRETSA
BUSINESS

of ferrets.

                
( Clyde
Hogendobler, Phillip Joss & Brian Schott)

A
BUSYNESS

of ferrets.

 Angus
Mackintosh

Other
spellings of this term can be see at


https://www.all-about-ferrets.com/collective-noun-for-ferrets.html

 

FINCHES

A CHARM of finches

FISH

A SHOAL,
DRAFT, NEST, SCHOOL
* of fish.
A RUN of
fish in motion.                                       

* Melissa Bee

FLAMINGOESA
STAND

of flamingoes.                        
                  

Melissa Bee

A FLAMBOYANCE
of flamingoes.           
                 

Kevin Yocum

FLIES

A CLOUD, HATCH, BUSINESS* or SWARM
of flies.   

                                                                          
* Melissa Bee

FOXESA
SKULK

of foxes                                               

Clyde Hogendobler

A CLOUD,
TROOP
, or COMPANY
of foxes.
A LEASH OR EARTH
of foxes.*         
                



* Melissa Bee

                

FROGSAn
ARMY

or COLONY of frogs.                        

Michael Haberl

A KNOT
of frogs.

Luke Fewings

GEESE

A
GAGGLE or
FLOCK
of geese.
A SKEIN, TEAM or WEDGE
of geese (in the air)
A PLUMP of geese (on water)

GERBILSA
HORDE

of gerbils.

GIRAFFES

A
CORPS,
TROOP
,

HERD 
of giraffes.

A  TOWER
of giraffes.

 Melissa
Bee

A
KINDERGARTEN

of giraffes. 

 
James Marohn

A
JOURNEY
of giraffes.                                 


 Raila and Jon Foley

A
KALEIDOSCOPE of giraffes

Jess
Gayner (via South African Game Ranger)

GNATSA
CLOUD OR HORDE
of gnats.     
                         


Melissa Bee

GNUSAn
IMPLAUSIBILITY

of gnus.                       


Andrew Davidson

GOATS

A FLOCK, HERD or TRIBE
of goats

A
TRIP

of goats (This is not one I have heard of before – thank you Lee
Lundberg)


GOLDFINCHES
A
CHARM

of goldfinches.
GOLDFISHA
TROUBLING

of goldfish.
GORILLASA
BAND

of gorillas                                              

Clyde Hogendobler

A WHOOP
of gorillas.


Several people have suggested a ‘flange’ of
gorillas as this was featured in Series 2, episode 5 of ‘Not The
Nine O’Clock News’ on the 28/04/1980 however, I feel
this actually puts the term in doubt as appears to be qualified by
Stephen Fry at:-

 http://old.qi.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=8498&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15&sid=764b6eda4eab5327541dcc71faae5e12

Mark
Lyndon
has commented as follows:-

In the sketch
you reference, Gerald makes it clear that this is in fact incorrect, and
that’s it’s a flange of baboons: 



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beCYGm1vMJ0
 

Both “flange”
and “whoop” seem to be have been coined in that sketch btw: 



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3ABaboon#%22Flange_of_baboons%22
 



https://listverse.com/2012/01/24/11-words-with-surprising-derivations/
 

It’s debatable
whether or not they have become real collective nouns since then.

 

GRASSHOPPERSA
CLOUD

of grasshoppers.

GREYHOUNDS
A
LEASH

of greyhounds.

GROUSE

A PACK or COVEY of
grouse

GUILLEMOTSA
BAZAAR

of guillemots.
GUINEA FOWLA
CONFUSION

of guinea fowl.

Alexandra
Bylczynski

A
RASP

of guinea fowl.

Reginald
Hughes

GUINEA PIGSA
GROUP

of guinea pigs

Mike Holden

GULLSA
COLONY

of gulls.                                                   

Melissa Bee

 

HAMSTERSA
HORDE

of hamsters.            
                             

Margie and John 

HARESA
HUSK, DOWN or MUTE
of hares.

A TRACE
of hares.

Alexandra
Bylczynski

HAWKS

A
CAST
,
KETTLE (flying in
large numbers) or BOIL
(two or more) of hawks.

 Melissa
Bee

HEDGEHOGSAn
ARRAY
of hedgehogs.
HENSA
BROOD

of hens.
HERONSA
SCATTERING
,
SEIGE or
SEDGE
* of herons.      

                                                         
* Melissa Bee

HERRINGAn
ARMY
of herring.                                                  


Melissa Bee


HIPPOPOTAMI
A
BLOAT

of hippopotami (or hippopotamuses)

A RAFT
of hippopotami

Jess Gayner
(via South African Game Ranger)


HOATZIN

(South American jungle bird)

A
DONGLE
of hoatzin.

Elliot Eaton

HOGSA
DRIFT

or PARCEL of hogs.                    
     


Michael Haberl

HORNETSA
NEST

of hornets.                   
                                

Melissa Bee

HORSES

A STUD or
STRING

of horses (Breeding)
A TEAM,
HARRAS
,
PAIR or
RAG

of horses (i.e. colts.)*    
A FIELD, HERD, REMUDA,
SET

or STABLE of horses.

 
* Melissa Bee

HOUNDS

A PACK, KENNEL, MUTE or CRY
of hounds

Possibly
LEASH

of hounds (but cannot confirm this fact) 

John
Branda.

HUMMINGBIRDSA
CHARM

of hummingbirds

Richard
Sanborn BA, MA, JD

HYENASA
CACKLE

of hyenas.                  
                           

Melissa Bee

INSECTS

A SWARM of insects

JACKRABBITSA
HUSK
of jackrabbits.
JAYSA
PARTY

or SCOLD of jays.
                                     

Melissa Bee

JELLYFISHA
BROOD,

SMUCK or
SMACK


of jellyfish.

KANGAROOS

A MOB or TROOP of
kangaroos

KITTENS

A
KENDLE,
KINDLE or LITTER
of kittens.

LADYBIRDS
LADYBUGS
LADYBEETLES
A
LOVELINESS

of ladybirds.

                     
Sent in by Simon Odell – not authenticated but too nice to omit.

Joe Dahl says – I too have heard of the
collective noun for ladybirds being a ‘loveliness’ as heard on a BBC
Radio 4 programme a while ago.

LAPWINGSA
DESERT

or DECEIT* of
lapwings.                      

 *Melissa Bee

LARKS

A BEVY of larks.
An EXALTATION
of larks.                                   

Elazar Friedman

An ASCENSION
of larks.                                 

Michael
Haberl

LEMURS A
TROOP
of lemurs.

Alex Dunkel

LEOPARDSA
LEAP

of leopards                                            

Clyde Hogendobler

LICEA
FLOCK

of lice.

LIONS

A PRIDE, FLOCK, SAWT, SOUSE, or TROOP
of lions.

A
SAULT of lions.

Alexandra
Bylczynski

LOCUSTSA
CLOUD
,
PLAGUE or SWARM 
of locusts.
LOONSA
RAFT of loons.

Dr. D. T.
Mulhearn


Dr. Mulhearn kindly provided some additional information on
this subject.


“The term  is not often usable because they rarely
group. On occasion however, for reasons yet unknown, they
will meet for short periods, on a lake in groups numbering
from a half dozen to a few dozen. They drift around the lake
in their raft for a few days until they eventually again go
their separate ways.”

MAGPIESA
TITTERING
,
TIDING,
GULP
,
MURDER or
CHARM
* of magpies.

* Melissa Bee

MALLARDSA
SORD

or BRACE* of
mallards.                   

Elazar Friedman
                                                                    
* Melissa Bee

I was looking at your
wonderful list of animal collectives for my website
(everbosity.wordpress.com) and came across the use of
“brace”

several times, firstly under birds. A brace is a pair of anything and
not specifically related to any animal. A player can score a brace
of goals in a football match for example. I wouldn’t consider it a
collective title.

Tench
Ringgold

MARESA
STUD

of mares.                               
           


Michael Haberl

MARTENSA
RICHNESS

of martens.            
                            

Melissa Bee   

A RICHESSE
of martens.      
                                        

Jayne Collins

MEERKATSA
MOB

of meerkats.                                                

Kristin Howard


MICE
A
MISCHIEF
of mice.
A HORDE of mice.
A HARVEST of mice.
A COLONY of mice.
A NEST of mice.
MINNOWSA
STEAM

of minnows.
MOLESA
LABOUR

of moles.                                              

Phillip Joss

MONGOOSESA
BUSINESS

of mongooses.

Steve
Rundstrom

MONKEYS

A TROOP, CARTLOAD
or BARREL* of
monkeys                  

 
Melissa Bee

MOOSEA
HERD

of moose.
MOSQUITOESA
SCOURGE

of mosquitoes.
MULESA
BARREN,

PACK* or SPAN
of mules.                
   

                                                          
*  Melissa Bee


NIGHTINGALES
A
WATCH

of nightingales.

An
ENCHANTMENT

of nightingales.

David Thomson

OTTERSA
FAMILY, BEVY
or
ROMP
* of otters.                
 

* Melissa Bee

A RAFT
of otters 
                                                           

Donald Cheek.

OWLSA
PARLIAMENT

of owls. 

Anonymous
contributor & Raila and Jon Foley

A STARE
or
WISDOM of owls.                        

Grant Schneider

A STUDY
of owls.                                                       

Amelia B.

OXENA
TEAM

or YOKE of oxen..        
                           

Melissa Bee

A DROVE or
HERD
of oxen                      
      

Michael Haberl

A SPAN*
of oxen 
                                                      

Richard Bowen

*(I believe this may
refer to a team of two or more)

OYSTERSA
BED

of oysters                       

Clyde Hogendobler and Kristen Reece

PARROTSA
PANDEMONIUM

or COMPANY* of
parrots.          

                                                      

Melissa Bee

PARTRIDGES

A COVEY of
partridges

PEACOCKSA
MUSTER

or OSTENTATION* of
peacock.
          

*  Melissa Bee

A
PULCHRITUDE

of peacocks.  

                       
* S. M. Steven.

PEEPSA
LITTER

of peeps.                                     
   


Michael Haberl

PELICANSA
SQUADRON

of pelicans.

Miranda

A
POD

or SCOOP of pelicans.

PENGUINS

A ROOKERY or
COLONY
* of penguins                   

                                                         
* Melissa Bee

PHEASANTS

A HEAD, NYE, NEST, , NIDE (BROOD)* or
BEVY

of pheasants.

 * Melissa Bee

A
BOUQUET

of pheasants (in flight)


Alexandra
Bylczynski

PIGEONS

A KIT of pigeons
(flying together)
A FLOCK or
FLIGHT

of pigeons.        
            


Michael Haberl

I have been
advised by Terry West that this can also be
a “LOFT” of pigeons. I am,
however, a little nervous about this one as I know pigeons’ living
quarters are called a Loft.

You
question a ‘loft’ of pigeons because a loft may be a pigeon’s home. Many
creatures can be referred to in this way – cf. a dray of squirrels; and
I wonder if a cete of badgers is not, at heart, a ‘set’ of badgers.

Roger Whiteway

PIGS

A
HERD, TRIP or LITTER
of pigs
A DRIFT,
DROVE
,
SOUNDER (swine),
TEAM
, PASSEL
(hogs)*

                                                          
*  Melissa
Bee

PLOVERS

A STAND, WING OR CONGREGATION
of plovers

PONIESA
DROVE OR STRING
of ponies.

PORCUPINES
A
PRICKLE

of porcupines.                                  

*  Melissa
Bee

PORPOISES

A HERD, SCHOOL or POD
of porpoises.

PRAIRIE DOGSA
COTERIE

of prairie dogs.                                       

Ken

PTARMIGAN

A COVEY of
Ptarmigan


PUGS
  (breed of dog)
A
GRUMBLE
of Pugs

PUPS

A LITTER of pups

A
PUDDLE

of puppies                                          

Sarah Smith 

QUAIL

A BEVY, DRIFT or
COVEY
* of quail               
      

                                                      
*  Melissa Bee

RABBITSA
BURY
,
COLONY, CIRCLE,
NEST,
HERD

(domestic), LITTER
(young) of rabbits.

 
* Melissa Bee

A
TRACE

of rabbits.

Alexandra
Bylczynski

Several
people, including Lyle McNair, have submitted this term but it
has always been my understanding that ‘warren’ was the name given to the
network of interconnecting rabbit burrows in which rabbits live.

Collective
nouns are notoriously difficult to authenticate but during research,
although I could not find official clarification that warren is an
authentic collective noun, I have seen other references to its use so I
have decided to include it.

A
WARREN
of rabbits.

Lyle has now sent me some
additional information regarding the use of the term “warren” as a
collective noun.


The “World English Dictionary” (accessible through




www.dictionary.com
)
defines “warren” as “a colony of rabbits” and “colony” in a zoological
sense is further defined as “a group of the same type of animal or plant
living or growing together, especially in large numbers”.


RACCOONS
A
GAZE
of raccoons.

Chris Lam

A
NURSERY
of raccoons.

RACEHORSES

A STRING of
racehorses

RATSA
COLONY

of rats.   
A PACK or
SWARM

of rats.              
                                                              

Michael Haberl

A MISCHIEF
of rats.

Phil
Malia,

RATTLESNAKESA
RHUMBA

of rattlesnakes.                                                                

Michael Haberl.

RAVENSAn UNKINDNESS of ravens.

A MURDER
of ravens.                                                                     

Michelle Hellstern

A
CONSPIRACY of ravens.                                                                  

Alex Baxter

REINDEERA
HERD

of reindeer.
RHINOSA
CRASH

or HERD of
rhinos                        



 Clyde Hogendobler)
      

Michael Haberl/ Raila and Jon Foley

ROEBUCKSA
BEVY

of roebucks.
ROOKSA
BUILDING or ROOKERY
of rooks.
A CLAMOUR of rooks.                      
                                                             

Michael Haberl

A PARLIAMENT
of rooks.                                                                                          

Clayton Deathe

ROTIFERS

(a type of plankton found in lakes and
rivers)

A
POD

of rotifers.

Matt

RUFFS

A HILL of ruffs

SARDINESA
FAMILY
of sardines.

SASQUATCH
A
PUNGENT
of sasquatch.

Lindsay
Boe

SCHNAUZERSA
STENCH

of Schnauzers

No complaints please, this was sent in by DD a Schnauzer owner who is a
Veterinary Surgeon (identity protected by me, for obvious reasons!!!!)

SEA OTTERSA
RAFT

of sea otters 
                                                                                                   
Donald Cheek.
SEAGULLSA
FLOCK

of seagulls.

Jason Murray

SEAHORSESA
HERD

of seahorses.
 
*

* It is rare for
seahorses to group together so there is no real collective noun but
the above is the term sometimes used for a collection of seahorses.

Paul Bergeron has also
advised that the term for the offspring of seahorses is “fry”.

SEALS

A HERD, HAREM*, TRIP or ROOKERY*
of seals
A POD of
seals (a small herd)

* Tom Clarke has commented – “I
note that you list harem for seals. A harem usually refers to a group of
female seals who have been organized or collected by a single male for
breeding purposes.”


*
Leigh-Anne Kolasinski
advises that the term “rookery” is normally
used for the place where seals give birth rather than as a collective
noun.

Another
term used for on land habitat of seals/sea lions is ‘haul-out’ but this
would not be used as a collective noun.

D. C. Reid.

I have noticed that
many of the collective nouns featured on the various pages do in fact
refer to the habitat rather than groups but these terms are notoriously
difficult to authenticate;  even the most prestigious dictionaries
do not feature them, presumably for that reason.  I am led to
believe, however, that the The Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus
(ed. Maurice Waite, 2007) shows this term as being a collective noun.

SHARKSA
SHIVER

of sharks.                                     
       

Melissa Bee

SHEEP

A FLOCK, HERD, HIRSEL, PACK, DROVE* or
TRIP
of sheep      

*Courtesy of Melissa
Bee

A
MOB

of sheep (Australian)           
                     

Anthony Coates

SKUNKSA
SURFEIT

of skunks.

Mary
Gutierrez 

SKYLARKSAn
ASCENSION

of skylarks.

David Milne

SNAKESA
DEN
,
BED, PIT
or SLITHER

of snakes.

A
NEST or KNOT
of snakes.         
                           

Melissa Bee

A BROOD
of snakes (a family group)  
                  

Robert Richards

SNIPE

A WISP or WALK of
snipe

SPARROWSA
HOST

of sparrows.

A KNOT
of sparrows. (Thomas
Hardy Far from the Madding Crowd
)

Steve

SQUIRRELSA
DRAY*

or SCURRY* of
squirrels.                        

*  Melissa Bee

*
Laurel Parker has
pointed out

“I believe the term “dray” of squirrels is
incorrect, since a dray is the name for a squirrel’s sleeping
quarters, and most of the time there is only one squirrel inhabiting
a dray. At most, a dray would house a litter (2-4 babies) plus mom
but that is only twice a year.

Squirrels do use a buddy system when they can
and pair or triple up for safety ( this is not their mates but often
siblings or two weaker members of a greater community will buddy for
strength in numbers).

Any way you look at it, a dray doesn’t hold much
of a group.”

I did some research on the
subject and the term “dray” does appear to be the popular
choice, however, like Laurel, experts say that as squirrels are
fairly solitary creatures there is probably no need for a collective
noun.

 

STARLINGSA
MURMATION

of starlings.                              

Elazar Friedman

A
MURMURATION

of starlings. 

Corrected
by Andrew Okulitch

A FILTH
of starlings                                           

Wayne Bickley


A
CHATTERING of starlings.

Richard
Sanborn BA, MA, JD

AN
AFFLICTION

of starlings
.


John Nanian

STINGRAYSA
FEVER

of stingrays.

Ellie Foran &
Darryll Griffiths

STORKSA
MUSTERING

of storks.                  
                        

Melissa Bee

SWALLOWS

A FLIGHT or GULP of
swallows

SWANS

A GAME, BANK, TEAM, HERD
or BEVY* of swans.

A WEDGE of swans in
the air.                                

Melissa Bee

A
LAMENTATION
of swans.                    
         

Michael Haberl

A
BALLET
  of swans.

Tom

SWIFTSA
FLOCK

of swifts                                           


Michael Haberl

SWINE

A HERD,
DRIFT OR SOUNDER
of swine

TADPOLESA
CLOUD

of tadpoles.

Summer
Robinson

Jim Arnosky’s book A
Kettle of Hawks and other wildlife groups

TEALA
SPRING

of teal.
TERMITESA
BROOD
,
COLONY, NEST OR SWARM
of termites.
THRUSHESA
MUTATION

of thrushes.
TIGERSAn
AMBUSH
or STREAK*
of tigers.        
              


Melissa Bee

TOADSA
KNOT or KNAB
of toads             
                 

Clyde Hogendobler

TORTOISESA
CREEP

of tortoises.
TROUTA
HOVER

of trout.
TURKEYSA
RAFTER

or GANG* of
turkeys.           
               

*  Melissa Bee

A CLUTCH *
of turkeys.                               
                    

Anon

* I think this term
usually refers to the eggs e.g. “a clutch of eggs

TURTLE
DOVES
A
PITYING or DULE
of turtle doves.        
                

Melissa Bee

TURTLESA
BALE, DOLE
or NEST*
of turtles.

Clyde
Hogendobler

A
TURN
of turtles. 

* Melissa Bee

UNICORNSA
FANTASY

of unicorns.

Natalie
Stevens

A

BLESSING
of unicorns.                      

 Jayne
Collins.

A
GLORY

of unicorns.

Brigitte
Wray-Miller (via Bruce Coville)

A SURPRISE
of unicorns.


Danielle W. (via Jane Yolen’s short story “The Boy Who Drew Unicorns”

VIPERSA
NEST

of vipers.                                                                                  
Melissa Bee

A BROOD
of vipers.

The term ‘brood’ has been applied to vipers, most notably by Jesus
(Matthew 12:34, Matthew 23:33), but also by John the Baptist (Matthew
3:7, Luke 3:7). Whether or not this stands up to scrutiny and qualifies
as a precedent (given that neither of the two were scientists, nor were
the translators of the Bible) is, of course, up to you.

Indy Sambasivam

VULTURESA
COMMITTEE

of vultures.                                                                                    

Kevin Yocum 

WALRUSESA
HERD

or POD of walruses.
WASPSA
PLADGE

of wasps.

A PAIL
of wasps.

A NEST
of wasps.                       

Alexandra
Bylczynski

WATERFOWL

A BUNCH, KNOB,
TRIP

or PLUMP* of
waterfowl     

                                                          
*  Melissa
Bee

WEASELSA **BOOGLE,
GANG
, *CONFUSION
or PACK of
weasels.            
    
 

**
Contributed by Dr Scott A McGinlay
BVMS MRCVS DVM

*Wayne Bickley

WHALES

A SCHOOL, HERD or GAM
of whales
A POD of
whales (small school)
A GRIND of
bottle nose whales

WIDGEON

A COMPANY or TRIP
of widgeon

WILDFOWL

A BUNCH, TRIP or PLUMP
of wildfowl.
A KNOB of
wildfowl (less than 30)

WOLVES

A PACK or ROUT of
wolves

WOMBATSA
WISDOM of wombats.

Andy Williams

WOODCOCKSA
FALL

of woodcocks.
WOODPECKERSA
DESCENT

of woodpeckers.
WORMSA
CLEW of worms.

WRENS

A HERD of wrens  

A
CHIME of wrens                                                                                  
Phillip Joss

ZEBRASA
ZEAL
,
HERD or
DAZZLE
* of zebras

                                             
*  Raila and Jon
Foley

Jennii Ramirez
wrote saying –

Are you aware that there is a
book which lists “nouns of multitude?”

It’s title is “An
Exaltation of Larks
.”


 


Some more “unusual” terms  suggested for
other species/objects/professions can be found on the following pages:


Aadvarks to Butterflies
Car mechanics to
Dung beetles

Editors to
Gunzels

Hair stylists to
Lumberjacks

Magicians to
Ornithologists

Painters to Rock
climbers

Sailors to System
administrators

Talk show hosts
to Urbanites


Vampires to
Zombies

There are nearly 900 pages on the Hints and Things site, providing
information, hints and tips on a wide variety of subjects.  I must
admit I have been very surprised to find that the pages on Collective Nouns
have proved to be some of the most popular attracting a great deal of
interest.

With this in mind I thought you maybe interested to hear that there is a
book available entitled
“Flocks, Herds, Litters and Schools” by Jim McMullan in which he tries
to find the origins of some of the more popular collective nouns in a fun
and interactive manner.

For a bit of fun why not check out our Fictitious
Collectives
Page 

and our Collectives
Poem
.