Collective Nouns For Birds

One of the most remarkable things about the animal kingdom and just one of the many crazy things about the English language is the variety of collective nouns that all mean ‘group’.

Twack Of Ducks

Below you’ll find a comprehensive list of collective nouns for birds, some familiar and some not so well known.

Are we missing any? Let us know in the comments below. 

A

albatrosses – a rookery of albatrosses
albatrosses – a weight of albatrosses
auks – a raft of auks
avocets – a colony of avocets

Avocet
Bullfinch

B

bitterns – a pretence of bitterns
bitterns – a sedge of bitterns
bitterns – a siege of bitterns
bobolinks – a chain of bobolinks
bullfinches – a bellowing of bullfinches
buzzards – a wake of buzzards

C

capercaillie – a tok of capercaillie
capons – a mews of capons
chicks – a brood of chicks
chicks – a clutch of chicks
chicks – chattering of chicks
chickens – a brood of chickens
chickens – a peep of chickens
choughs – a clattering of choughs
coots – a covert of coots
coots – a raft of coots
cormorants – a flight of cormorants
cranes – a herd of cranes
cranes – a sedge of cranes
crows – a horde of crows
crows – a hover of crows
crows – a mob of crows
crows – a murder of crows
crows – a muster of crows
crows – a parcel of crows
crows – a parliament of crows
crows – a storytelling of crows
curlews – a herd of curlews

A Murder Of Crows
Mallard

D

dotterel – a trip of dotterel
doves – a bevy of doves
doves – a dole of doves
doves – a flight of doves
doves – a piteousness of doves
doves – a pitying of doves
ducks (diving) – a dopping of ducks 
ducks (flying) – a plump of ducks 
ducks (on water) – a paddling of ducks
ducks – a badling of ducks
ducks – a flush of ducks
ducks – a raft of ducks
ducks – a sord of ducks
ducks – a team of ducks
ducks – a twack of ducks
dunlin – a fling of dunlins

E

eagles – a congress of eagles
eagles – a convocation of eagles
emus – a mob of emus

Golden Eagle
Peregrine Falcon

F

falcons – a cast of falcons
finches – a charm of finches
finches – a trembling of finches
finches – a trimming of finches
flamingos – a flamboyance of flamingos
flamingos – a stand of flamingos

G

godwits – an omniscience of godwits
godwits – a prayer of godwits
godwits – a pantheon of godwits
goldfinches – a drum of goldfinches
goldfinches – a troubling of goldfinches
goldfinches – a charm of goldfinches
goldfinches – a chirm of goldfinches
geese – a gaggle of geese
geese (flying) – a wedge of geese 
geese – a nide of geese
geese – a skein of geese
geese (on water) – a plump of geese
goshawks – a flight of goshawks
grouse – a covey of grouse
grouse – a lek of grouse
grouse – a pack of grouse
guillemots – a bazaar of guillemots
guinea fowl – a confusion of guinea fowl
gulls – a colony of gulls
gulls – a screech of gulls

Goldfinch
Grey Heron

H

hawks – a cast of hawks
hawks (tame) – a lease of hawks
hawks –  a kettle of hawks
hens – a brood of hens
herons – a siege of herons
herons – a sedge of herons
hummingbirds – a charm of hummingbirds

J

jackdaws – a clattering of jackdaws
jackdaws – a train of jackdaws
jays – a band of jays
jays – a party of jays
jays – a scold of jays

Jackdaw
Kingfisher

K

kingfishers – a concentration of kingfishers 
kingfishers – a crown of kingfishers 
kingfishers – a realm of kingfishers 

L

lapwings – a desert of lapwings
larks – a bevy of larks
larks – an exaltation of larks
larks – an exalting of larks

Lapwing
Magpie

M

magpies – a conventicle of magpies
magpies – a gulp of magpies
magpies – a mischief of magpies
magpies – a tidings of magpies
magpies – a tittering of magpies
mallards – a sute of mallards
mallards – a sord of mallards
martins – a richness of martins
mudhen– a fleet of mudhen

N

nightingales – a watch of nightingales

Nightingale
Tawny Owl

O

owls – a parliament of owls
owls – a stare of owls
owls – a study of owls
owls – a wisdom of owls
oystercatchers – a parcel of oystercatchers

P

parrots – a company of parrots
parrots – a prattle of parrots
parrots – a pandemonium of parrots
partridges – a covey of partridges
peacocks – a muster of peacocks
peacocks – a pride of peacocks
peacocks – an ostentation of peacocks
pelicans – a pod of pelicans
pelicans – a scoop of pelicans
pelicans – a squadron of pelicans
penguins – a colony of penguins
penguins – a creche of penguins
penguins – a huddle of penguins
penguins – a parcel of penguins
penguins – a rookery of penguins
pheasants – a bouquet of pheasants
pheasants – a covey of pheasants
pheasants – a nide of pheasants
pheasants – a nye of pheasants
pigeons – a kit of pigeons
pigeons – a loft of pigeons
plovers – a congregation of plovers
ptarmigans – a covey of ptarmigans

Grey Partridge
Quail

Q

quail – a bevy of quail
quail – a covey of quail

R

ravens – an unkindness of ravens
robins – a blush of robins
robins – a bobbin of robins
robins – a breast of robins
robins – a carol of robins
robins – a gift of robins
robins – a reliant of robins
robins – a riot of robins
robins – a rouge of robins
robins – a round of robins
robins – a ruby of robins
robins (American) – a worm of robins
rooks – a building of rooks
rooks – a clamour of rooks
rooks – a parliament of rooks
ruffs – a hill of ruffs

Raven
House Sparrow

S

sandpipers – a bind of sandpipers
sandpipers – a cluster of sandpipers
sandpipers – a contradiction of sandpipers
sandpipers – a fling of sandpipers
sandpipers – a hill of sandpipers
sandpipers – a time-step of sandpipers
sea fowl – a cloud of sea fowl
seagulls – a colony of seagulls
seagulls – a flock of seagulls
shelducks – a doading of shelducks
shelducks – a dopping of shelducks
skylarks – an exultation of skylarks
snipe – a walk of snipe
snipe – a wisp of snipe
sparrows – a host of sparrows
sparrows – a quarrel of sparrows
sparrows – an ubiquity of sparrows
starlings – a murmuration of starlings
storks – a muster of storks
storks – a phalanx of storks
swallows – a flight of swallows
swallows – a gulp of swallows
swans – a gaggle of swans
swans (flying) – a wedge of swans
swans – a bank of swans
swans – a bevy of swans
swans – a whiteness of swans
swans – a herd of swans
swans – an eyrar of swans
swans – a gargle of swans

T

teal – a diving of teal
teal – a spring of teal
thrushes – a mutation of thrushes
turkeys – a raffle of turkeys
turkeys – a rafter of turkeys
turtle doves – a dole of turtle doves
turtle doves – a pitying of turtle doves

Turtle Dove
Wigeon

W

waterfowl – a knob of waterfowl
waterfowl – a plump of waterfowl
wigeon – a coil of wigeon
woodpeckers – a descent of woodpeckers
woodcocks – a fall of woodcocks
wrens – a herd of wrens

57 Responses

  1. Redwings? Would this be the same as ‘Thrushes’ as they are of the thrush family and there are different thrushes i.e mistle and song, and there isn’t one listed for blackbirds? Thanks.

  2. The Yelllowhammer is not mentioned here. Yellow is the colour of sunshine, hope, and happiness, therefore can I suggest as a collective noun,
    “A Sunshine of Yellowhammers.”

  3. I live on the South coast. We have a “Clique” (my term) of about 30 Sparrows visiting every day first thing, to see what’s on the bird table – usually Wild Bird grain. They stand off and watch cautiously (we have far too many local cats on the prowl), and to do so they perch in a rambling white rose which has bushed across the top of our boundary fence right under my kitchen window (I am in a 1st floor flat). They always fascinate me because they arrive at the same approximate times every day. 8am, 12.pm and 4pm. I had already observed them taking turns to hit the bird table which I usually replenish for my incapacitated neighbour. Most of them watch and guard, whilst some have their fill, then they swap over in teams. This morning I saw them en masse, do something I haven’t seen them do before. I was aware of a flash of wing in my periphery, it came from my left past my window (it could have been a Sparrow Hawk or just a fast pigeon and I was momentarily was distracted ). The Sparrows vanished and I looked and thought, “I didn’t see them go, how did they do that?” When I looked again I realised they had in fact – as one bird – dropped inside the protection zone of the rambling rose. I could see little heads bobbing about inside otherwise I wouldn’t have realised it because of their natural camouflage. It may be common knowledge but it was new to me. We get the usual crop of wonderful garden birds (and in early Sept. this year Humming Bird moths) but I find these little Sparrows have proved to be real characters and smarter than I had expected.

    1. The sparrows visiting my feeders remind me of nothing so much as a group of rowdy and argumentative friends heading for the take-away after a night in the pub. I propose the evocative and alliterative “a squabble of sparrows”.

  4. We often use a Happiness of Hoopoe whilst leading bird tours in Spain, you just have to look at the faces of the clients to see why.

  5. Vultures and Condors – (perched) a venue or volt; (feeding) a wake; (circling) a kettle

    1. How about a Stealing of Seagulls considering they are always on the lookout for ice creams or chips! Or maybe a Lookout would be more appropriate.

  6. Having lived in a houseboat on a canal for 5 years – we were astonished how caring moorhens are to their new brood and their earlier fledglings. Being monomorphic – we think that a group of moorhens – should be called a mothering of moorhens.

  7. Just seen 18 magpies. They were jumping around a lot and flying backwards and forwards for no apparent reason and so I thought a madness of magpies would be a good term

  8. I don’t think it’s a real collective noun but I’ve always called a group of swans ‘a glide of swans’.

    They are so elegant when swimming through water so I think a glide suits them perfectly.

    1. Pamela – we love “a glide of swans”. It’s so much more descriptive than some of the other “official” collective nouns. Thank you for sharing.

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