A Comprehensive List of Animal Group Names

Updated on May 23, 2019
Sammendoran profile image

Sam majored in English and used to work as an English substitute teacher. She is now an editor for a non-fiction publishing house.

What do you call a group of...?

English is indeed a strange language, and nothing is stranger than the variety of collective nouns assigned to groups of particular animals. So why is a group of crows called a murder of crows or a group of sloths called a bed of sloths?

Animal group names date back to medieval times when a list of collective terms for animals appeared in the Book of Saint Albans, printed in 1486. This book, written by a nun named Juliana Barnes, covered the topics of hunting, fishing, and coat of arms, and it included the first ever list of collective nouns for every type of animal one could possibly imagine. These nouns were venery or hunting terms but have since extended into the everyday vernacular. Some terms, however, are so odd that you would only find them in literature or poetry.

Collective Names for Groups of Animals

Mammals and Marsupials

  • Albatross: rookery
  • Alligators: congregation
  • Apes: troop or shrewdness
  • Baboons: troop or flange
  • Badgers: cete
  • Bats: colony or cauldron
  • Bears: sleuth or sloth
  • Beavers: colony or family
  • Bloodhounds: sute
  • Boars: sounder
  • Buffalo: obstinacy or gang
  • Camels: caraven, flock, train, or herd
  • Cats: clowder, pounce, glaring, or destruction (if they're wild)
  • Cattle: mob
  • Cheetas: coalition
  • Colts: rag or rake
  • Deer: herd or parcel
  • Dogs: litter (if they're puppies), pack (if they're wild), or cowardice (if they're curs)
  • Dolphins: pod
  • Donkeys: pace
  • Elephants: herd, parade, or memory
  • Elk: gang
  • Ferrets: business, hob (male), jill (female), kit (babies)
  • Fox: leash, skulk, or earth (this is the oddest of all group names in my opinion)
  • Giraffes: tower
  • Gnus: implausibility
  • Goats: trip, drove, herd, flock, tribe
  • Gorillas: troop or band
  • Hedgehogs: array
  • Hippopotamuses: thunder or bloat
  • Hyenas: clan or cackle
  • Jaguars: prowl or shadow
  • Kangaroos: mob or troop
  • Kittens: kindle, litter, or intrigue
  • Lemurs: conspiracy
  • Leopards: leap
  • Lions: pride or sawt
  • Martens: richness
  • Moles: labor
  • Monkeys: troop or barrel
  • Mules: pack, span, or barren
  • Narwhals: blessing
  • Otters: raft or romp
  • Oxen: drove, team, yoke
  • Pandas: embarrassment
  • Pigs: drift, drove, sounder, team, or passel
  • Polar Bear: pack, aurora, or celebration
  • Porcupines: prickle
  • Porpoises: turmoil, pod, school, or herd
  • Prairie dogs: colonies or coteries
  • Rabbits: colony, nest, warren, husk, down or herd
  • Raccoons: gaze, boars (group of males), sows (group of females)
  • Rhinoceroses: stubbornness or crash
  • Seals: harem
  • Sloths: bed
  • Squirrels: scurry or dray (a nest of mother and her babies)
  • Tigers: streak or ambush
  • Whales: pod, gam, or herd
  • Wolves: pack, rout, or route (when in movement)
  • Wombats: wisdom
  • Zebra: herd, zeal, or dazzle

Interesting Fact

Some of these animals are solitary, so it is ironic that they have group names dedicated to their kind when they are rarely found in groups.



  • Bitterns: sedge
  • Buzzards: wake
  • Bobolinks: chain
  • Coots: cover
  • Cormorants: gulp
  • Chickens: clutch
  • Crows: murder, horde, unkindness, conspiracy
  • Dotterel: trip
  • Doves: dule or pitying (used only for turtle doves)
  • Ducks: brace, team, flock (when in flight), raft (when on water), paddling, or badling
  • Eagles: convocation
  • Falcons: cast
  • Finches: charm
  • Flamingos: stand or flamboyance
  • Geese: flock, gaggle (when on the ground), or skein (when in flight)
  • Grouse: pack (in late season)
  • Hawks: cast, kettle (when in flight), or boil (when there are two or more spiraling in air)
  • Herons: sedge or siege
  • Hummingbirds: charm
  • Jays: scold or party
  • Lapwings: deceit
  • Larks: exaltation
  • Lyrebirds: musket
  • Mallards: brace or sord (when in flight)
  • Magpies: tiding, charm, or gulp
  • Nightingales: watch
  • Owls: parliament
  • Parrots: pandemonium or company
  • Partridge: covey
  • Peacock: ostentation or muster
  • Pelicans: Pod or squadron
  • Penguins: convent, tuxedo, colony, muster, parcel, or rookery
  • Pheasant: nest, nide (a brood), nye, guff (in-flight), or bouquet (take-off)
  • Plovers: congregation or wing (when in flight)
  • Ptarmigans: covey
  • Rooks: building
  • Quail: bevy or covey
  • Ravens: unkindness
  • Seagulls: squabble
  • Snipe: walk or wisp
  • Sparrows: host
  • Starlings: murmuration
  • Storks: muster or mustering
  • Swans: bevy, game, or wedge (when in flight)
  • Teal: spring
  • Thrushes: mutation
  • Turkeys: gang or rafter
  • Vultures: committee, kettle, or wake (refers to a group feeding on carcass)
  • Woodcocks: fall
  • Woodpeckers: descent

A Mutation of Thrushes?

It was a common belief in medieval times that thrushes shed their legs and regrew them every 10 years, which led to the term "mutation."

Reptiles, Fish, and Amphibians

  • Barracudas: battery
  • Cobras: quiver
  • Crocodiles: bask
  • Eels: bed
  • Fish: draft, nest, run, school, or shoal
  • Frogs: army
  • Herring: army
  • Iguanas: slaughter
  • Komodo dragons: bank
  • Rattlesnakes: rhumba
  • Salamanders: maelstrom
  • Salmon: run
  • Sardines: family
  • Sharks: shiver
  • Snakes: nest, pit, den
  • Stingrays: fever
  • Toads: knot
  • Trout: hover
  • Turtles: bale or nest
  • Vipers: generation

A Generation of Vipers?

The term "generation" comes from Matthew 23:33 in the King James version of the Bible: "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?"

Bugs and Other Things

  • Bees: grist, hive, or swarm
  • Butterflies: kaleidoscope, flutter, or swarm
  • Caterpillars: army
  • Clams: bed
  • Cockroaches: intrusion
  • Crabs: cast or consortium
  • Flies: business
  • Grasshoppers: cloud
  • Jellyfish: bloom, fluther, or smack
  • Lobsters: risk
  • Locusts: plague
  • Mosquitoes: swarm or scourge
  • Octopuses: consortium or rally
  • Oysters: bed
  • Snails: rout, walk, hood, or escargatoire
  • Spiders: cluster
  • Squid: audience
  • Worms: bunch

Interesting Fact

Collective names are not unique to animal groups. Groups of people have odd collective names as well. Some examples include:

• a blush of boys

• a superfluity of nuns

• a drunkship of cobblers

• a faith of merchants

• a hastiness of cooks

There you have it folks! You'll never have to guess as to which group name is correct again. And if you do, just say "a group of..." In fact, in most instances, you'll want to use group rather than the names on this list, since most of these terms are archaic and aren't widely known. Your friends (and even teachers) might give you weird looks if you use them in speech. This list is, however, essential if you are writing and want to use words with more flare. If I left out anything, please let me know in the comments below.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      8 months ago



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)