Collective nouns for animals - a conspirancy of lemurs
A conspirancy of lemurs (image sourced: Pixabay)

Collective nouns for animals – Safari talk

A crash of rhinos, anyone? Or a prickle of porcupines? How about a parliament of owls?

If you have no idea what I am talking about, you are not alone. The names given to the groups of different animals are often unexpectedly bizarre. 

Earlier this year, I found myself watching a very active bird feeder on a Brazilian farm in the Pantanal, when I heard my friend remark: “Such a colourful pandemonium of parrots”. In answer to our blank stares, he explained that the collective noun used for a group of parrots was a pandemonium. No doubt, he’s been waiting for a chance to drop it in a conversation since the beginning of our trip.

That conversation piqued my curiosity and I decided to look up the names for groups of other animals. If you would like to impress your friends on your next safari, pick a couple of terms from the list below and use them at the first chance you get.

Collective nouns for animals

Collective nouns for animals - a tower of giraffes
A tower of giraffes in South Africa (image source: Pixabay)

Mammals

  • Apes – shrewdness
  • Badgers – cete
  • Bats – colony
  • Bears – sloth (or sleuth)
  • Buffalo – gang; herd
  • Cats (wild) – destruction
  • Cheetahs – Coalition
  • Deer – brace (two); leash (three)
  • Dolphins – herd; pod; school
  • Donkeys – herd; pace
  • Elephants – parade, herd
  • Elk – gang
  • Ferrets – business
  • Foxes – earth; leash (three); skulk
  • Fur seals – harem (belonging to one male)
  • Giraffes – tower, herd
  • Gorillas – band
  • Hares – down; huske; leash (three)
  • Hedgehogs – array
  • Hippopotamuses – bloat
  • Horses – harras; span (a team of two); string
  • Hyenas – cackle, clan
  • Jaguars – shadow
  • Kangaroos – flock; mob; troop
  • Kittens – kindle
  • Lemur – conspiracy
  • Leopards – leap
  • Lions – pride
  • Martens – richesse
  • Mice – mischief
  • Moles – labour
  • Monkeys – troop
  • Otters – romp, bevy
  • Porcupines – prickle
  • Porpoises – herd; pod; school
  • Prairie dogs – coterie
  • Rabbits – berry
  • Rhinoceroses – crash
  • Roes – bevy
  • Rooks – building; parliament
  • Seals – plump; spring
  • Sheep – flock; fold; mob; wing
  • Squirrels – scurry, dray (a nest)
  •  Tigers – streak, ambush
  • Whales – gam; herd; plump; pod
  • Wolves – pack; rout
  • Wombats – wisdom
  • Zebras – zeal
Collective nouns for animals - pandemonium of parrots
A pandemonium of parrots in Brazil

Birds

  • Choughs – clattering
  • Coots – covert
  • Crows – murder
  • Doves – dole (or dule)
  • Ducks – paddling (on water); raft (on water)
  • Dunlins – fling (in flight)
  • Eagles – convocation, aerie
  • Emus – mob
  • Falcons – cast (a pair released after game)
  • Finches – charm; chirm
  • Flamingos – flamboyance 
  • Fowl – plump; skein (in flight); trip
  • Geese – gaggle; skein (in flight); wedge (in V formation in flight)
  • Goldfinches – charm
  • Grouse – brace (two); covey; pack
  • Hawks – cast (a pair released after game); kettle (riding a thermal); leash (three)
  • Herons – siege (or sedge, or sege)
  • Lapwings – desert
  • Larks – bevy; exaltation; exalting
  • Magpies – tidings
  • Mallards – sord; sute
  • Nightingales – watch
  • Owls – parliament
  • Parrots – pandemonium
  • Partridges – covey
  • Peacocks – muster; ostentation
  • Pheasants – bevy; bouquet (when flushed); nye
  • Pigeons – kit
  • Plovers – congregations; wing
  • Quails – bevy
  • Ravens – unkindness
  • Ruffs – hill
  • Sheldrake – dropping
  • Snipe – walk; wisp
  • Sparrows – host
  • Starlings – murmuration
  • Swans – wedge (in V formation in flight)
  • Teal – spring; string
  • Turkeys – rafter
  • Waterfowl – bunch; knob (less than 30); raft (on water)
  • Woodcocks – fall
  • Woodpeckers – descension

Amphibians and Reptiles

  • Frogs – knot
  • Toads – knot
  • Vipers – nest
  • Cobras – quiver
  • Lizards – lounge
A shiver of sharks
A shiver of sharks (image sourse: Pixabay)

Fish

  • Fish – run (moving upstream for spawning); school; shoal trout – hover
  • Sharks – shiver, school
Collective nouns for animals - a smack of jellyfish
A smack of jellyfish (Image source: Pixabay)

Invertebrates

  • Bees – bike; drift; hive; swarm
  • Butterflies – flight; wing
  • Cockroaches – intrusion
  • Jellyfish – smack, brood
  • Mosquitoes – scourge
  • Snails – escargatoire, rout, walk
Collective nouns for animals - an intrigue of kittens
An intrigue of kittens (image source: Pixabay)

And if you are not heading on a safari any time soon, here are some collective nous for domestic animals

  • Cats – clowder, pounce or glaring; for kittens – a kindle, litter or intrigue
  • Dogs – litter (puppies) or cowardice (curs)
  • Donkeys – pace
  • Goats – tribe or trip
  • Mules – pack, span or barren
  • Pigs – drift, drove, sounder, team or passel
  • Ducks – brace, team, flock (in flight), raft (on water), paddling or badling
  • Geese – flock, gaggle (on the ground) or skein (in flight)
  • Turkeys – rafter or gang

Learn some Collective nouns for animals and impress your friends on your next safari

Sign up for our Newsletter

And Receive Tips on Where to See Wildlife Up Close

We respect your privacy.

Learn a few collective nouns for animals and impress your friends on your next safari
Written By
More from Margarita

Wildlife of Mataranka and Katherine Gorge

In this post1 Elsey National Park1.1 Wildlife of Mataranka Hot Springs1.1.1 Frogs1.1.2...
Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.