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Ducks in a raft; Sharks in a shiver: What do you call a group of…?

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When conducting research for the blog on Barb’s great Rubber Ducky Race in July,  the rather creative term for a group of ducks, “a paddling” (along with several others as in the headline above), got us wondering how much fun it would be to see DSC_2073 what words our imaginative ancestors came up with to describe groups of other animals. And sure enough, it was certainly an interesting delve into history, conflict and clever interpretation dating, in some cases, back to the 16th century.

In an effort to bring you the most popularly accepted names for the different groups of animals we researched several volumes of respected sources, weaving through increasing idiomatic complexities, so we combined many of Blue Heron the more obviously suited descriptions from four main resources: Oxford English Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Dictionary of the English Language, Free Online Dictionary (which apparently uses a lot of information from Merriam-Webster) and the U.S.  Geological Survey Study of collective animal groups.

Even though you will notice some very appropriate names for some of the groups (i.e. a “parade” of elephants, conjuring up the circus coming to town), it was indeed a restraint of painful proportions to keep from adding to this list new groups and new titles, but, alas, another day perhaps. We hope you enjoy the collection below!

 

 Mammals
Apes A shrewdness
Asses A pace
Badgers A cete
Bats A colony
Bears A sloth, sleuth
Buffalo A gang, an obstinacy (I suspect these refer to old world buffalo; use “herd” for American bison)
Cats A clowder, a pounce; for kittens…A kindle, litter, an intrigue
Cattle A drove (when moving), herd
Deer A herd, bevy (refers only to roe deer)
Dogs A litter (young), pack (wild), cowardice (of curs); specific to hounds…A cry, mute, pack, kennel
Elephants A herd, a parade
Elk A gang
Ferrets A business
Foxes A leash, skulk, earth
Giraffes A tower
Goats A tribe, trip
Gorillas A band
Hares A down, a mute, a husk
Hippopotamuses A bloat
Horses A team, harras, rag (for colts), stud (a group of horses belonging to a single owner, string (ponies)
Hyenas A cackle
Kangaroos A troop
Leopards A leap
Lions A pride
Martens A richness
Moles A labor
Monkeys A troop, barrel
Mules A pack, span, barren
Otters A romp
Oxen A team, yoke
Pigs A drift, drove, litter (young), sounder (of swine), team, passel (of hogs), singular (refers to a group of boars)
Porcupines A prickle
Rabbits A colony, warren, nest, herd (domestic only), litter (young); specific to hares…A down, husk
Rhinoceroses A crash
Seals A pod, herd
Sheep A drove, flock, herd
Squirrels A dray, scurry
Tigers A streak
Whales A pod, gam, herd
Wild Boars A sounder
Wolves A pack, rout or route (when in movement)
Birds
Birds in general A flight (in the air), flock (on the ground), volary, brace (generally for game birds or waterfowl, referring to a pair or couple killed by a hunter)
Bitterns A sedge
Buzzards A wake
Bobolinks A chain
Chicks (of many species) A brood; clutch
Coots A cover
Cormorants A gulp
Cranes A sedge
Crows A murder, horde
Dotterel A trip
Doves A dule, pitying (specific to turtle doves)
Ducks A brace, flock (in flight), raft (on water) team, paddling (on water), badling
Eagles A convocation
Falcons A cast (when taking flight at same time)
Finches A charm
Flamingos A stand
Geese A flock, gaggle (on the ground), skein or team or wedge (in flight)
Grouse A pack (in late season)
Gulls A colony
Hawks A cast, kettle (flying in large numbers), boil (two or more spiraling in flight)
Herons A sedge, a siege
Jays A party, scold
Lapwings A deceit, a desert
Larks An exaltation
Mallards A sord (in flight), brace
Magpies A tiding, gulp, murder, charm, tittering
Nightingales A watch
Owls A parliament
Parrots A company, a pandemonium
Partridge A covey
Peacocks A muster, an ostentation
Penguins A colony, a parcel
Pheasant A nest, nide (a brood), nye, bouquet
Plovers A congregation, wing (in flight)
Ptarmigans A covey
Rooks A building, a parliament
Quail A bevy, covey
Ravens An unkindness
Snipe A walk, a wisp
Sparrows A host
Starlings A murmuration
Storks A mustering
Swallows A flight, a gulp
Swans A bevy, wedge (in flight)
Teal A spring
Turkeys A rafter, gang
Widgeons A company
Woodcocks A fall, (slowest bird in world: at 5mph still doesn’t fall)
Woodpeckers A descent
Reptiles and Amphibians
Crocodiles A bask
Frogs An army
Toads A knot
Turtles A bale, nest
Snakes, vipers A nest
Invertebrates
Ants A colony
Bees A grist, hive, swarm, drift, erst
Caterpillars An army
Clams A bed
Cockroaches An intrusion
Flies A business
Gnats A cloud, horde
Grasshoppers A cloud
Hornets A nest
Jellyfish A smack, a fluther
Locusts A plague
Oysters A bed
Fish
Fish in general A draft, nest, school, shoal (some authors claim that the common “school” is a corruption of shoal, and therefore incorrect)
Bass A shoal
Herring An army
Sharks A shiver
Trout A hover

 

This blog is powered by www.sonoranresorts.mx, Jim Ringquist, Director of Sales and Marketing.

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