Delightful Ways We Refer to Groups of Animals in English

Delightful Ways We Refer to Groups of Animals in English
Updated on 25 August 2015

What is a congregation? If you said it is a group of people who gather together for religious worship, you are correct. It is also a group of alligators. Although alligators are not known to assemble for worship, they are social creatures. So it is not too far of a stretch to call a group of them a congregation, is it? Crows are intelligent birds that often live together in family groups. Breeding pairs of crows cooperate to build nests and raise their young. What name would you assign to a group of crows? Would you call them a murder? Some historians believe that crows earned this designation because of ancient superstitions that labeled the black birds as omens of death. Alligators and crows are not the only animals that have interesting group names. Can you imagine how each of the following groups got its name?

  • An ambush of tigers
  • A glittering of hummingbirds
  • A bed of worms
  • A bike of hornets
  • A bouquet of pheasants
  • A dazzle of zebras
  • A descent of woodpeckers
  • An escargatoire of snails
  • A gang of turkeys
  • A gaze of raccoons
  • A hover of trout
  • A kettle of circling vultures
  • A kindle of kittens
  • A lamentation of swans
  • A mess of iguanas
  • A parliament of rooks
  • A pitying of turtledoves
  • A plump of waterfowl
  • A scream of swifts
  • A stubbornness of rhinoceroses
  • A tower of giraffes
  • An unkindness of ravens
  • A wisdom of wombats

Did you enjoy reading these interesting group names? Why not track down the origins of the less obvious designations? Many of the names tell us something about the characteristics of the animal. For example, one bird called a teal is known to fly rapidly from its nest at the slightest disturbance. For that reason, a group of teals is called a spring. Which animal group do you want to learn about first?

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