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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

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.

43 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. Great list. Thanks

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

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