A Comprehensive List of Animal Group Names

Updated on October 15, 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.

While some animals' collective names have become quite well-known over the years, most are still fairly obscure, and some are just downright strange.
While some animals' collective names have become quite well-known over the years, most are still fairly obscure, and some are just downright strange. | Source

What Do You Call a Group Of . . . ?

English is a strange language, and nothing is stranger than the variety of collective nouns assigned to groups of particular animals. For example, did you know that a collection of crows is called a murder? Or that a crowd of sloths is referred to as a bed?

Animal group names date back to medieval times when a list of collective terms for animals first 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 coats of arms, and it also included the first-ever list of collective nouns for every type of animal one could possibly imagine. Originally, these nouns were used primarily as hunting terms, but they have since extended into the everyday vernacular. Some of these terms, however, are so odd that you would likely only find them in literature or poetry.

Collective Names for Groups of Animals

This list of collective names has been divided into several sections for your convenience:

  1. Mammals and Marsupials
  2. Birds
  3. Reptiles, Amphibians, and Fish
  4. Insects, Arachnids, and Other Animals
  5. People

A group of pandas is referred to as "an embarrassment."
A group of pandas is referred to as "an embarrassment." | Source

1. 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: caravan, 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)
  • Foxes: leash, skulk, or earth (this is the oddest of all group names in my opinion)
  • Giraffes: tower
  • Gnus: implausibility
  • Goats: trip, drove, herd, flock, or tribe
  • Gorillas: troop or band
  • Hedgehogs: array
  • Hippopotamuses: thunder or bloat
  • Hyenas: clan or cackle

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.

  • 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 Bears: 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 mother and her babies in a nest)
  • Tigers: streak or ambush
  • Whales: pod, gam, or herd
  • Wolves: pack, rout, or route (when in movement)
  • Wombats: wisdom
  • Zebras: herd, zeal, or dazzle

A group of crows is referred to as "a murder."
A group of crows is referred to as "a murder." | Source

2. Birds

  • Bitterns: sedge
  • Buzzards: wake
  • Bobolinks: chain
  • Coots: cover
  • Cormorants: gulp
  • Chickens: clutch
  • Crows: murder, horde, unkindness, or conspiracy
  • Dotterels: 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

A Mutation of Thrushes?

During medieval times, it was a common belief that thrushes shed their legs and regrew them every 10 years. This led to the creation of the collective term "mutation."

  • Nightingales: watch
  • Owls: parliament
  • Parrots: pandemonium or company
  • Partridge: covey
  • Peacocks: ostentation or muster
  • Pelicans: Pod or squadron
  • Penguins: convent, tuxedo, colony, muster, parcel, or rookery
  • Pheasants: 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
  • Snipes: 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 group of iguanas is referred to as "a slaughter."
A group of iguanas is referred to as "a slaughter." | Source

3. Reptiles, Amphibians, and Fish

  • 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

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?"

  • Salamanders: maelstrom
  • Salmon: run
  • Sardines: family
  • Sharks: shiver
  • Snakes: nest, pit, or den
  • Stingrays: fever
  • Toads: knot
  • Trout: hover
  • Turtles: bale or nest
  • Vipers: generation

A group of butterflies is referred to as "a kaleidoscope."
A group of butterflies is referred to as "a kaleidoscope." | Source

4. Insects, Arachnids, and Other Animals

  • 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

A group of nuns is referred to as "a superfluity."
A group of nuns is referred to as "a superfluity." | Source

5. People

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

  • Boys: blush
  • Nuns: superfluity
  • Cobblers: drunkship
  • Merchants: faith
  • Cooks: hastiness

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 most instances, you'll want to use "a group of . . . " rather than the names on this list, since most of these terms are archaic and aren't very widely known. Your friends (and even teachers) might give you weird looks if you use these terms when speaking. This list is may prove essential, however, if you are writing and want to use terms with more flare. If I left anything out, please let me know in the comments below.


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    • profile image

      A bunch 

      4 days ago

      Of worms

    • profile image


      11 days ago

      What about cow

    • profile image


      2 weeks ago

      Elephant, Lion, ant, Sheep,

    • profile image


      4 weeks ago

      How about an ugliness of warthogs?

    • profile image


      4 weeks ago

      Now I don't need to think of what they are called cause I know it all!!!

    • profile image


      6 weeks ago


    • profile image


      10 months ago



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