Common Names for observing specific groups (e.g birding / birdwatching for birds)


So for some time now have being trying to figure out pithy words for nature watching and all the groups within.

There is an "official word(s) and then a related more commonly used word

Like Birding / Birdwatching – Ornithology

Herpetology - Herping - has a wikipedia entry
Lepping - Observing Butterflies and Moths ( ### Lepidopterology

Was interested in knowing more such words for other groups / sub groups

and wanted to know if there was a "better word " for “nature watching” as well



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Oding is the term for watching dragonflies and damselflies - someone who goes oding is an oder. Seriously, I did not make that up.

Looking for plants is botanizing.


I’ve seen “mammaling” or “mammling” for mammal-observation.

Beth Levin’s English Verb Classes and Alternations lists the following as noun-derived verbs which can be used to mean “hunt/forage/search for X”:

“antique, berry, birdnest, blackberry, clam, crab, fish, fowl, grouse, hay, log, mushroom, nest, nut, oyster, pearl, prawn, rabbit, seal, shark, shrimp, snail, snipe, sponge, whale, whelk”

I think most of these refer more to hunting or food-gathering than scientific investigation, though. “Bird” should really be on the list (there’s a book called The Verb “To Bird”).


I believe it’s customary to call an expedition to look for fungi a “foray.”


For general nature watching/enjoyment I usually say “nature study”

I don’t think it’s official, but maybe it becomes if enough people are using it. My Spanish friend use “bicheando” from bicho. So I’ve decided to call my activity of animal watching beasting. ;-)

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For the shells of marine mollusks, people just say, I’m going shelling.

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Sala-meandering is wandering aimlessly through woodland and along streams looking for suitable objects to turn for salamanders.


I have heard “mothing” for moths.


If I’m specifically focusing on birds and keeping an eBird list, I call it birding. If I’m looking at everything and taking photos for use on iNaturalist, I call it iNaturalizing.

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So a “mother” is one who moths?


I don’t know how official it is but someone near and dear to me refers to my naturalist activities, when pursued with diligence and stamina, as goofing off.


Lichenizing for looking for lichens and botanizing for looking for plants are terms I have heard frequently within groups dedicated to those activities as well.

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some people I know use ‘spoodspotting’ for spiders

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wonder if flowering can be made up and added for the act of looking at flowers :-)

As in am not “goofing off” am flowering ;-)


Have seen this (bicho) used in one of Gerald Durrell’s books in which he visits South America

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I think so… thats what I have heard it called.

Anyone notice that this is very similar to the Word for Nature Trip topic? I know this one is a bit more focused, but it’s something to keep in mind. Maybe they should be merged?

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before posting i did try and search to find a similar thread, seems like i did not search hard enough.

Not sure how to merge though

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Only Forum Moderators can do it.