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COLLECTIVE NOUNS

TERMS FOR GROUPS OF ANIMALS, BIRDS AND INSECTS

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, however, like to point out that these terms have not been officially "authenticated". 

ANIMAL/SPECIES

TERM

ANTELOPES A 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.

BABOONS A TROOP of baboons

 Michael Haberl

A FLANGE*** of baboons

Judith Rich

A CONGRESS of baboons.

John Provost

*** The history of this term is very interesting see the following -

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baboon

BACTERIA A 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

BARRACUDAS A BATTERY of barracudas.
BASS A SHOAL of bass.                                                    

Melissa Bee.

BATS A COLONY of bats.                                                  

Melissa Bee.

A CLOUD of bats.

Keith Harris

BEARS

A SLOTH or SLEUTH of bears

BEAVERS A 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

BISON A HERD of bison.
BITTERNS A SEDGE of bitterns.                                               

Melissa Bee.

BOAR (WILD)

A SOUNDER or SINGULAR of wild boar

BOBOLINKS A 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.

This is confirmed on the site at http://nationalzoo.si.edu/default.cfm


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

BULLOCKS A DROVE of bullocks.
BUTTERFLIES A SWARM or RABBLE of butterflies.

A KALEIDOSCOPE of butterflies.                 

Christina Gonzales

A FLUTTER of butterflies.                                  

Priscilla Weikert 

A RAINBOW  of butterflies.

Amy Black

BUZZARDS A WAKE of buzzards.                                             

Melissa Bee

CAMELS A CARAVAN, FLOCK or TRAIN of camels.
CARIBOU A 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.

CHEETAHS A COALITION of cheetahs                                

Lisa Ashley Mayock

CHICKEN

A BROOD, CLUTCH, flock, run or PEEP of chicken

CHICKS A CLUTCH OR CHATTERING  of chicks.

 Michael Haberl

CHOUGHS A CHATTERING of choughs.
CLAMS A BED of clams                                             

Clyde Hogendobler

COATI (COATIMUNDI) A BAND  of coati (coatimundi)
COBRAS A QUIVER of cobras                                       

Michael Haberl

COCKROACHES An INTRUSION of cockroaches.                                

Melissa Bee

COLTS A RAG of colts.
COOTS A COVERT or COVER* of coots.                             

*Melissa Bee

CORMORANTS A GULP (SOLITUDE)* OR FLIGHT of cormorants.  

                                                             *Melissa Bee

COWS A 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.

COYOTE A PACK of coyotes

A TRAIN of coyotes                                                                                Donald Kross

A BAND of coyotes                                                                                        Michael Haberl  

A ROUT of coyotes                                                                                                       Bud Stockwell

CRABS A 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

CROCODILES A 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

CURS A COWARDICE of curs.                                  

Michael Haberl

DEER

ROE DEER

A HERD, LEASH or MOB of deer

A BEVY of roe deer.                                              

Melissa Bee

DOGFISH A TROOP of dogfish

DOGS

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

 Melissa Bee   

DOLPHINS A SCHOOL of dolphins.

A POD of dolphins.                                                

Audrie Dugger 

DONKEYS A HERD or PACE of donkeys/asses                         

Melissa Bee & Michael Haberl

DOTTEREL A 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.

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

EAGLES A 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)

EMUS A MOB of emus.                                             

Michael Haberl

FERRETS A BUSINESS of ferrets.

                 ( Clyde Hogendobler, Phillip Joss & Brian Schott)

A BUSYNESS of ferrets.

 Angus Mackintosh

Other spellings of this term can be see at http://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

FLAMINGOES A STAND of flamingoes.                                           

Melissa Bee

A FLAMBOYANCE of flamingoes.                             

Kevin Yocum

FLIES

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

                                                                           * Melissa Bee

FOXES A SKULK of foxes                                               

Clyde Hogendobler

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

* Melissa Bee                 

FROGS An 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)

GERBILS A 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)

GNATS A CLOUD OR HORDE of gnats.                               

Melissa Bee

GNUS An 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.
GOLDFISH A TROUBLING of goldfish.
GORILLAS A 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

GRASSHOPPERS A CLOUD of grasshoppers.
GREYHOUNDS A LEASH of greyhounds.

GROUSE

A PACK or COVEY of grouse

GUILLEMOTS A BAZAAR of guillemots.
GUINEA FOWL A CONFUSION of guinea fowl.

Alexandra Bylczynski

A RASP of guinea fowl.

Reginald Hughes

GUINEA PIGS A GROUP of guinea pigs

Mike Holden

GULLS A COLONY of gulls.                                                   

Melissa Bee

 

HAMSTERS A HORDE of hamsters.                                          

Margie and John 

HARES A 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

HEDGEHOGS An ARRAY of hedgehogs.
HENS A BROOD of hens.
HERONS A SCATTERING, SEIGE or SEDGE* of herons.      

                                                          * Melissa Bee

HERRING An 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

HOGS A DRIFT or PARCEL of hogs.                          

Michael Haberl

HORNETS A 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.

HUMMINGBIRDS A CHARM of hummingbirds

Richard Sanborn BA, MA, JD

HYENAS A CACKLE of hyenas.                                              

Melissa Bee

INSECTS

A SWARM of insects

JACKRABBITS A HUSK of jackrabbits.
JAYS A PARTY or SCOLD of jays.                                      

Melissa Bee

JELLYFISH A 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.

LAPWINGS A 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

LEOPARDS A LEAP of leopards                                            

Clyde Hogendobler

LICE A FLOCK of lice.

LIONS

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

A SAULT of lions.

Alexandra Bylczynski

LOCUSTS A CLOUD, PLAGUE or SWARM  of locusts.
LOONS A 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."

MAGPIES A TITTERING, TIDING, GULP, MURDER or CHARM* of magpies.

* Melissa Bee

MALLARDS A 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

MARES A STUD of mares.                                           

Michael Haberl

MARTENS A RICHNESS of martens.                                         

Melissa Bee   

A RICHESSE of martens.                                              

Jayne Collins

MEERKATS A 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.
MINNOWS A STEAM of minnows.
MOLES A LABOUR of moles.                                              

Phillip Joss

MONGOOSES A BUSINESS of mongooses.

Steve Rundstrom

MONKEYS

A TROOP, CARTLOAD or BARREL* of monkeys                  

 *  Melissa Bee

MOOSE A HERD of moose.
MOSQUITOES A SCOURGE of mosquitoes.
MULES A BARREN, PACK* or SPAN of mules.                    

                                                           *  Melissa Bee

NIGHTINGALES A WATCH of nightingales.

An ENCHANTMENT of nightingales.

David Thomson

OTTERS A FAMILY, BEVY or ROMP* of otters.                  

* Melissa Bee

A RAFT of otters                                                            

Donald Cheek.

OWLS A PARLIAMENT of owls. 

Anonymous contributor & Raila and Jon Foley

A STARE or WISDOM of owls.                        

Grant Schneider

A STUDY of owls.                                                       

Amelia B.

OXEN A 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)

OYSTERS A BED of oysters                       

Clyde Hogendobler and Kristen Reece

PARROTS A PANDEMONIUM or COMPANY* of parrots.          

                                                       *  Melissa Bee

PARTRIDGES

A COVEY of partridges

PEACOCKS A MUSTER or OSTENTATION* of peacock.          

*  Melissa Bee

A PULCHRITUDE of peacocks.  

                        * S. M. Steven.

PEEPS A LITTER of peeps.                                         

Michael Haberl

PELICANS A 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

PONIES A DROVE OR STRING of ponies.
PORCUPINES A PRICKLE of porcupines.                                  

*  Melissa Bee

PORPOISES

A HERD, SCHOOL or POD of porpoises.

PRAIRIE DOGS A COTERIE of prairie dogs.                                       

Ken

PTARMIGAN

A COVEY of Ptarmigan

PUPS

A LITTER of pups

A PUDDLE of puppies                                          

Sarah Smith 

QUAIL

A BEVY, DRIFT or COVEY* of quail                      

                                                       *  Melissa Bee

RABBITS A 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

RATS A COLONY of rats.   
A PACK or SWARM of rats.                             
                                                

Michael Haberl

A MISCHIEF of rats.

Phil Malia,

RATTLESNAKES A RHUMBA of rattlesnakes.                                                                

Michael Haberl.

RAVENS An UNKINDNESS of ravens.

A MURDER of ravens.                                                                     

Michelle Hellstern

A CONSPIRACY of ravens.                                                                  

Alex Baxter

REINDEER A HERD of reindeer.
RHINOS A CRASH or HERD of rhinos                        

 Clyde Hogendobler)       Michael Haberl/ Raila and Jon Foley

ROEBUCKS A BEVY of roebucks.
ROOKS A 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

SARDINES A FAMILY of sardines.
SASQUATCH A PUNGENT of sasquatch.

Lindsay Boe

SCHNAUZERS A 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 OTTERS A RAFT of sea otters                                                                                                     Donald Cheek.
SEAGULLS A FLOCK of seagulls.

Jason Murray

SEAHORSES A 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.

SHARKS A 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

SKUNKS A SURFEIT of skunks.

Mary Gutierrez 

SKYLARKS An ASCENSION of skylarks.

David Milne

SNAKES A 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

SPARROWS A HOST of sparrows.

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

Steve

SQUIRRELS A 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" some 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.

I doubt if the lady who sent in the photos featured on the following site would agree!

http://www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk/forums/mammal-forums/12141-do-i-really-deserve.html 

 

STARLINGS A 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

STINGRAYS A FEVER of stingrays.

Ellie Foran & Darryll Griffiths

STORKS A 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

SWIFTS A FLOCK of swifts                                           

Michael Haberl

SWINE

A HERD, DRIFT OR SOUNDER of swine

TADPOLES A CLOUD of tadpoles.

Summer Robinson

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

TEAL A SPRING of teal.
TERMITES A BROOD, COLONY, NEST OR SWARM of termites.
THRUSHES A MUTATION of thrushes.
TIGERS An AMBUSH or STREAK* of tigers.                       

Melissa Bee

TOADS A KNOT or KNAB of toads                               

Clyde Hogendobler

TORTOISES A CREEP of tortoises.
TROUT A HOVER of trout.
TURKEYS A 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

TURTLES A BALE, DOLE or NEST* of turtles.

Clyde Hogendobler

A TURN of turtles. 

* Melissa Bee

UNICORNS A 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"

VIPERS A 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

VULTURES A COMMITTEE of vultures.                                                                                    

Kevin Yocum 

WALRUSES A HERD or POD of walruses.
WASPS A PLADGE of wasps.

A PAIL of wasps.

A NEST of wasps.                       

Alexandra Bylczynski

WATERFOWL

A BUNCH, KNOB, TRIP or PLUMP* of waterfowl     

                                                           *  Melissa Bee

WEASELS A **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

WOMBATS A WISDOM of wombats.

Andy Williams

WOODCOCKS A FALL of woodcocks.
WOODPECKERS A DESCENT of woodpeckers.
WORMS A CLEW of worms.

WRENS

A HERD of wrens  

A CHIME of wrens                                                                                   Phillip Joss

ZEBRAS A 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.


 

 

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