Weird animal group names

Here are some good ones (sorry if this is alredy a topic but I could not find one)

Alligators – a congregation
Apes – a shrewdness
Bats – a colony or cauldron
Bears – a sleuth
Butterflies - kaleidoscope, a swarm or a flutter
Cats – a clowder
Crows – a murder
Donkeys – a pace
Ducks - raft
Ferrets – a business
Fox – a skulk or leash
Gerbils – a horde
Giraffes – a tower
Gold finch - a cham
Grackles - a plauge
Hippopotamuses – a bloat
Hyenas – a cackle
Leopards – a leap
Martens – a richness
Owls and Magpies – a parliament
Pandas - an embarrassment
Porcupines – a prickle
Raccoons – a nursery or gaze
Rats – a mischief
Rhinos – a crash
Skunks – a surfeit
Squirrels – a dray
Toads – a knot
Turtles – a bale
Whales – a pod

Please comment your favorites.

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group names for vultures are contextual:

  • in flight: a kettle
  • feeding on a carcass: a wake
  • in other situations (resting, roosting): a committee
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A GROUP OF SQUID IS CALLED A SQUAD :squid: :squid: :squid: :squid:

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A gRouP oF CHickeNs iS caLLeD mY pEepS. :chicken:

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A group of giraffe standing still is called a Tower, while a group of giraffes walking is called a journey. :sweat_smile:

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a group of iNatters is called a bioblitz…

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a sloth of bears
a cauldron of bats
a cowardice of dogs
a business of ferrets
and my favourite: a smack of jellyfish

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Wow, I just learned a lot! The only one I know is that a flock of starlings is a murmuration.

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A fling of sandpipers.

Sounds like a 80’s new wave cover band

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Murmuration is a process other than just a group itself though.

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I’ve always wondered how such a diversity of different English-language names for groups of animals came about. I suspect they didn’t arise all at once and most of them are no longer used or recognized by English speakers today. But what was the rationale for their invention and use in the first place (e.g., why a specific name for a group of gerbils)? Many sound like names a poet or prose writer would come up with.

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Love that!

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You already mentioned a murder of crows. For ravens, its an ‘unkindness’ or a ‘conspiracy’. I like corvids though, so I don’t particularly like those names. I’d propose a ‘conversation’ of crows instead and perhaps a ‘ruffle’ of ravens.

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Terms of venery:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animal_names

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An army of caterpillars (frogs are also an army)
A flamboyance of flamingos
An array of hedgehogs
A celebration of polar bears

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This has always been my favorite as well.

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It’s always fun to read these lists, but you must remember that many of them are the creation of a single poet or writer who was trying to conjure up an image with a phrase that had never been used previously. It’s not like the origin is “lost in folklore.”

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Since bushtits doesn’t have an official one, I propose a riffraff of bushtits


This these little hoodlems continually have been ransacking the local feeders!

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C.S. Lewis did indeed portray a Parliament of Owls in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

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I think the early ones were hunting terms, but poets and writers took up their use and extended the range of names in a rather wanton fashion…

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