It’s a … what?!?


Names for groups of birds (or collective nouns) are often fanciful, esoteric, and sometimes quite descriptive of birds’ behaviors or personalities.  The first known collection of specific names for collective groups of animals, including many birds, was published in 1486 in “The Book of Saint Albans” in an essay on hunting.

The noun can describe a group of birds of any species such as a volery, flock or dissimulation.  Some terms are often used for specific types of birds in large groups such as a charm of finches, a murder of crows, a cote of doves or a convocation of eagles.


Birds of prey: Cast or lease (tame birds), cauldron, kettle
Crows:  Murder, congress, horde
Curlews:  Herd
Ducks:  Raft, team
Emus:  Mob
Flycatchers:  A confusion of
Geese:  Skein, wedge, gaggle, chevron
Herons:  Rookery, sedge, pose
Jays:  Band, party, scold
Parrots:  Pandemonium, company
Pelicans:  Squadron
Penguins:  Huddle
Pheasants:  Bouquet (when flushed)
Plovers: Congregation
Quail:  Battery, bevy, covey
Ravens: Unkindness, storytelling
Snipes:  Wisp
Sparrows: Host, quarrel, knot
Starlings:  Chattering, affliction, murmuration
Storks:  Mustering
Terns:  Committee, cotillion
Waterfowl:  Raft, team, knob, sedge, brace
Woodpeckers: Cord, descent, gatling

(Sources:;;; )

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