Leave it to the animal kingdom to bring us some unusual and fun-to-say names for certain animal groups. While it may be easy to think of all animals in terms of herds and packs, it's so much more fun to learn the true group names for some of your favorite animals.
Whether it's an unkindness of ravens or a cete of badgers, the animal kingdom is rich with clever and creative names for groupings of animals.
From a wake of buzzards to a leap of lizards, explore the following odd and awesome animal group names throughout the rest of the article, categorized alphabetically by the animals mentioned and used in fun sentences that I hope tells a compelling narrative of exploring over 100 unique names of groups of animals.
From a Rookery of Albatrosses to a Murder of Crows
The etymology of why we call groups of animals a particular noun truly derives from humans' instinctive nature to categorize and compartmentalize identifiers in their brain. For this reason, collective nouns were created to describe particular animal groups. That way, even without the identifying noun of the animal itself, when referring to collective nouns like a shrewdness roaming the jungle, one can safely assume the speaker is talking about a group of apes.
Did you know a group of albatross was called a rookery or a group of alligators called a congregation or that baboons travel in troops while badgers travel in cetes and bats in cauldrons?
It's best to be wary when a sloth of bears comes lumbering through the woods, which may occur as a sedge of American bitterns, a chain of bobolinks, a bellowing of bullfinches or a wake of buzzards circle overhead.
Hunters may take bloodhounds out in a sute, but a clowder or pounce of cats or kindle or litter of kittens wouldn't be quite right for the job. Still, while roaming through the obstinacy of buffalo, one might notice an army of caterpillars, or more rarely a coalition of cheetahs somewhere on the open plains. Be careful not to step on a quiver of cobras, the resulting scream may set a gulp of cormorants or a cover of coots, or worse yet a murder or horde of crows to flight.
From a Pack of Dogs to a Leash of Foxes
Dogs can either be identified as a litter of puppies, a pack of wild dogs, or a cowardice of curs while donkeys travel in groups known as paces. In terms of flying creatures, dotterels travel in trips, turtle doves in pityings, ducks swim in groups called rafts but fly in formations called flocks, while groups of eagles are proudly referred to as convocations.
You won't want to miss a parade of elephants or a gang of elk roaming around, and a mob of emus and a business of ferrets are not quite as frightening as they sound. A cloud of grasshoppers, though, truly is terrifying, but you can take solace in that a tribe of goats will likely eat an entire cloud if given the chance.
Some names, like a charm of finches, a tower of giraffes, a prickle of porcupines and a stand of flamingos make sense just because of the creature groups they name - finches are charming, giraffes do tower, porcupines do prickle and flamingos typically stand on one leg!
However, I've never seen a leash on a fox, but a group of foxes is called a leash.
From a Band of Gorillas to a Parliament of Owls
Groups of gorillas are known as bands, which bazars of guillemots or confusions of guinea fowls would certainly enjoy if only they played instruments! Bloats of hippopotamus or cackles of hyenas could bask by the watering hole while a shadow of jaguars, an ambush of tigers, a troop of kangaroos and a party of jays watch from the bushes!
Elsewhere in the jungle, a conspiracy of lemurs leisurely hangs amongst the vines as a leap of leopards (or lizards, as the term fits both) and a pride of lions circle the group below. Meanwhile, a mischief of mice and labor of moles fights for control over a hollowed out tree stump they both want to call home while a barrel of monkeys hoots and holler at a passing barren of mules.
In the category of flight, lapwings travel in deceits, larks in exaltations, mallards in sords, magpies in tidings or gulps, martins in richnesses, nightingales in watches and owls in parliaments. A pandemonium of parrots or a covey of partridges may also take part in a gathering of birds, while ostentations of peacocks may want to stand apart from the crowds.
From a Rookery of Penguins to a Zeal of Zebras
Penguins travel in groups called colonies, musters, parcels or rookeries - depending on the type of penguin - while otters travel in romps and jellyfish in smacks. Elsewhere underwater, a pod of porpoises, a fever of stingrays, a shiver of sharks, and a run of salmon frolick beneath the surface.
In the air, ravens travel in kindnesses, snipes in walks, sparrows in hosts, starlings in murmurations, and storks in musterings. Groups of swans are called bevies while groups of trush are called mutations. Turkeys travel in gangs (watch out) and vultures circle in kettles. Waterfowls travel in knobs but wildfowls travel in plumps and woodpeckers descend on trees in groups called descents.
On land, a coterie of prairie dogs pops up on an unsuspecting nest of rabbits, a gaze of raccoons, a scurry of squirrels and a building of rooks. A rhumba of rattlesnakes shake their tails as a crash of rhinoceroses and a congress of salamanders pass too close, and a cluster of spiders hide in response. A mud pit full of pigs can be referred to as a passel or a sounder while polecats specifically travel in chines. Whales travel in pods and wolves travel in packs while groups of wombats are called wisdoms and groups of zebras called zeals.