The Official Blog of Backyard Chirper

Collective Nouns for Groups of Various Birds

We’re all familiar with some of the basic collective nouns for birds, such as a murder of crows or a gaggle of geese, but what about a charm of finches or a parliament of owls?

So we’ve assembled a list of collective nouns for various types of birds. While the first term is typically the most common, the others are equally acceptable.

Before we get to specific groups of birds, a group of general birds has a number of names you can use. Perhaps the most common is a flock of birds, but it can also be a flight, volery, or brace.

Bitterns: sedge

Chickens: brood, clutch, peep

Cormorants: gulp

Cranes: herd, sedge

Crows: murder, congress

Doves: dole, flight, piteousness

Ducks: Raft, brace, paddling, raft

Eagles: convocation, aerie

Emus: mob

Finches: charm

Flamingoes: stand, flamboyance, pat

Geese: gaggle (on the ground), skein (in flight), plump (flying close together)

Grouse: covey, pack

Gulls: colony

Hawks: boil, cast, kettle, lease

Herons: seige, sedge

Ibises: colony

Jays: band, party, scold

Lapwings: deceit, desert

Larks: bevy, exaltation

Magpies: charm, congregation, gulp, murder, tiding, tittering

Mallards: flush, puddling, sord, suit

Nightingales: watch

Owls: parliament, stare, wisdom

Parrots: company, pandemonium

Peacocks: muster, ostentation, pride, party

Pelicans: squadron, scoop, pod

Penguins: colony, waddle, rookery (on land), raft (at sea)

Pheasants: bouquet, nye, nide, nest, head

Pigeons: kit

Plovers: congregation, stand, wing

Quails: bevy, covey, drift

Ravens: congress, unkindness

Rooks: building, parliament

Sandpipers: fling

Snipes: walk, whisp

Sparrows: host, meinie, tribe

Starlings: chattering, cloud, congregation, murmuration, clattering

Storks: mustering, phalanx (migrating)

Swallows: flight, gulp

Swans: wedge, team, lamentation, bank, bevy, drift, eyrar, flight, whiting

Swifts: flock, scream

Turkeys: gang, rafter, gobble, posse, raffle

Vultures: wake, venue

Waterfowl: bunch, knob, raft

Woodcocks: fall

Woodpeckers: descent

Wrens: herd, chime


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  1. Erich Platz

    You are missing several different species… I did not see any reference to the hummingbird, boobie (blue footed or other) nor kiwi or ostrich! Please tighten up your list for the sake of the internet! WE NEED TO KNOW THESE THINGS

    • Courtney White

      You should try and look at it from a different view and appreciate the list he provided. I say bravo. And be nicer 😐

    • Mario Tcheukado

      I completely understand….what else?

    • I thought you were being funny and I appreciated your sarcasm … you weren’t being mean. you didn’t mean it. not like that, anyway!

  2. Mark Winn

    Hummingbirds and goldfinches are both called a “charm”.

  3. Lea

    I think a group of ostriches shares the “mob” designation with emus. And I guess dodos form a “ghost” or a “has-been”. Boobies? Most likely “blondes” or a “stewardessness”.

    • Richard Parris

      Perhaps bounce of boobies should be taken under advisement. Tittering of magpies is already in use.

  4. Ken

    I believe Boris Johnson has renamed the collective term for rooks. It’s now a prorogued parliament of rooks. I suppose Britain’s stealing away from the EU might have made that a parliament of crooks. So democracy will have to just gulp and swallow it now that the kit is among the pigeons.

  5. R.lalit

    Very excellent and very helpful

  6. Ramakrishna Easwaran

    This collection of collective nouns made me compose a doggerel:
    The CONVOCATION of EAGLES was a grand affair
    With a BAND of JAYS, playing a formal air.
    Held next to a PARLIAMENT of OWLS, all wise
    Under the close WATCH of NIGHTINGALES, all of one size
    When a MOB of EMUS tried to gate-crash
    The FLAMBOYANCE of FLAMINGOS made them less rash
    A CONGRESS of CROWS had planned the whole event
    Engaging a COMPANY of PARROTS, a decision to repent
    For a HERD of HERONS was by far a better choice
    And a BRACE of DUCKS, their pet errand boys
    A BROOD of CHICKEN was needed for the dinner
    And the KETTLE of HAWKS used was a real winner

  7. Stanford Lynx

    What are a group of several TERNS called?

  8. dude

    whats up my bros, dem is some sick birds yo

  9. michael jackson

    group of birds known as a watch

  10. michael jackson

    does anyone out there know the name for a group of birds known as a watch, surely someone must know.

    • Brosqq McGee

      A watch of nightengales.

    • Dana Murray

      Someone asked me “who came up with these names?” Anybody know?

  11. Barry D. Speer

    Life long casual bird observer. with three birds feeders we often have about 10+ birds. Watch from 2nd story deck and good binoculars on monopod, while sitting.

    Question: with several bird books in hand we have one variety unable to identify. It closely matches the black hooded chickadee in all details except there is no white anywhere around the neck head area. All three books do not picture chickadees without some collar of white on the males. Guess these, mine, our a new different type? Can you help?

    • Tim

      I just discovered what I originally thought were black-capped chickadees were actually their near-twins, the Mountain Chickadee

  12. Tracy Humphrey

    What is a group of Cardinals called?

  13. Abbey Dharma

    wonderful …. fun … and all the extra supportive friendly comments are great too.
    yes lets be kind and caring – life is too short for anything less.

    thanks everyone

  14. Rachel Busch

    A group of Loons is called a conclave.

  15. Connie Worthington

    What group of birds is known as an ecstasy?

    • Richard Parris

      Wrong animal. You’re thinking of an ecstasy of drug hounds.

  16. ek

    why does the German language only have one name for a group of birds: i.e Schwarm? when did the cultures divert?

  17. Carol Lewandowski

    This is a delightful list!! Thank you.

  18. Michael Holstein

    May I suggest a carving of turkeys?

  19. hi like your list and i am a bird lover too . I think you did a great job. 🤗👍

  20. Bernie Pitkin

    Interesting comments – and please DON’T leave out the politics!
    How about a CONCLAVE of CARDINALS?

  21. Skip Berlin

    A swarm of wee Kinglets

    Bobbins of rRobins

    Squadron of Geese

    Bombers of Terns

  22. skip berlin

    a coven of owls

  23. Willy

    Great list. Thanks

  24. Cohen

    Bird lovers and word lovers here may enjoy the wonderful book “An Exaltation of Larks” by James Lipton. It’s a collection of collective nouns — for birds, other animals, and even some humans. Find it cheap (or cheep!) on eBay.

  25. Richard Parris

    Perhaps a Querulous of Remoaners? Or a Politik of plovers?!

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