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What is a Group of Birds Called? (Names for a Flock of Birds)

Written by Clinton Atkins / Fact Checked by George Dukes

what is a group of birds called

What is a group of birds called? It’s not always a flock. The proper collective noun for a group of birds depends on the type or species of birds. It’s a fascinating reminder that each bird has a corresponding name you can call, and some even have funny names that are hard to forget.

Here you will discover other names for a flock of birds. Do you know that a group of finches is called a charm? Read on to discover more about various interesting group names of specific birds.

Types of Birds and Their Specific Flock Names

Some of these collective nouns originated as far back as the 15th century, such as a gaggle of geese and an exaltation of larks. These two collective nouns are found in the famous book on collective nouns, The Book of Saint Albans. Here are some of the most imaginative names given to a group of birds:

1. Owls

flock-of-crows

Owls are nocturnal birds of prey but are solitary creatures. It’s not often that you see them in groups, but you might ask, what’s the name of a group of owls? A group of this type is called a parliament of owls, a study, or a bazaar of owls. Another accepted owl group name is the wisdom of owls.

2. Crows

parliament-of-owls

Crows are known to be social animals and frequently congregate in groups. A flock of crows is called a murder, congress, or a horde. They are also referred to in groups as a cauldron or a muster.

The most popular of the crows’ group names is murder of crows. This dark association of crows to murder originated in old folks’ tale that crows as a group could judge one of their species and execute the guilty one, thus the term murder of crows.

3. Eagles

crows-group-name

Eagles are a very diverse species of birds; there are around 60 kinds of species found around the world. A group of eagles is called a convocation or congregation. Some would refer to them collectively as an aerie of eagles.

Collective Nouns for Various Birds

Below is a list of some collective nouns for different kinds of birds. Take note that some have more than one existing group name.

group-of-birds-is-called-a-congress

Bird species Flock of birds names
Bobolinks Chain
Budgerigars Chatter
Buzzard Wake
Coots Raft, Covert
Cardinals College, Conclave, Radiance, Vatican
Ducks Paddling, Team, Raft, Badling
Doves Bevy, Cote, Flight, Dule
Eagles Congregation. Convocation, Aire
Emus Mob
Finches Charm, Trembling
Flamingos Flamboyance, Stand
Frigatebirds Fleet, Flotilla
Geese Skein, Wedge, Gaggle, Plump
Godwits Omniscience, Prayer, Pantheon
Goldfinches Treasury, Charm, Rush, Trembling, Vein
Grosbeaks Gross
Gulls Squabble, Colony,

Flotilla, Gullery, Scavenging

Herons Scattering, Siege, Sedge
Hummingbirds Bouquet, Hover, Tune

Charm, Glittering, Shimmer

Kingfishers Concentration, Realm, Clique, Rattle, Crown
Larks Bevy, Exaltation, Happiness, Ascension
Magpies Tiding
Nightingales Watch
Penguins Colony, Huddle, Creche, Waddle
Ravens Unkindness, Murder, Congress, Horde
Sparrows Knot, Flutter, Quarrel, Host
Woodpeckers Drumming, Descent

What is a Flock?

name-for-group-of-owls

The term “flock,” in general, can refer to a group of animals and is not a term exclusive to birds. It can refer to sheep or cattle. A group of birds’ name depends on the species, but if a group of birds you see is composed of different birds, then the term “flock” is appropriate.

Two conditions need to be met before a group of birds can be referred to as a flock. This is not a strict rule, but this is generally how this term is used in collective reference to birds.

1. Species

When a group of birds belongs to the same species or family of birds, this flock of birds has names that are specific to their kind. For example, when you spot a flock of crows, this group of birds is called a congress and shouldn’t be called a flock since they have specialized names.

You can only call a group of birds a flock if they are composed of various bird species. If you see a group of chickens mixed with ducks, then you can call them a flock.

Read more: How many species of birds are there in the world?

2. Number

There is no agreed-upon number on how many birds should specifically constitute a flock. Birds frequently seen in groups, such as starlings, cranes, and sparrows can be called a flock if there are many of them, such as more than half a dozen.

The bar goes low for solitary birds such as hummingbirds and eagles, so even if you see just a handful of them, they can be rightly called a flock.

Why Do Birds Fly Together?

owl-group-name

A group of birds flying together is a very common scene to witness especially during sundown. What are the possible reasons for this?

  1. Flocking together increases the chance to spot a predator, especially during migrations. It increases the chances of survival and ensures safety because a group can scare predators away by mobbing.
  2. It’s easier to find food when they fly together. Many birds are better than just one looking for food. When one of the members of the flock finds food then it will call the other birds to partake of the food.
  3. Flying together also conserves energy because the draft from each bird fuels the flight. The “V” formation makes the journey easier for the flock.
  4. Grouping together also keeps the birds warm at night. This is true for starlings that are known to form a murmuration.
  5. Some birds like flamingos flock together for breeding, foraging, and mating. They are a close-knit group and tend to group because their choices for habitat are limited.

Conclusion

The general term for a group of birds is a flock but specific birds have their special group names. There are many possible answers to the question: what is a group of birds called? Flock is not always the right term and you know that by now after reaching the end of this article.

 The answer always depends on the species of birds that you see. It is also nice to learn these fancy and whimsical groups of birds names. If you enjoyed reading this article then don’t forget to share this!

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Clinton-Atkins


Clinton Atkins

Author

Hi, I'm Clinton. Rocky and I became friends after a birdwatching trip with our new group. And we have been enjoying every adventure together. When he told me the idea of establishing a site that shares our experiences and fun, I immediately agreed. After trials and errors, here we have Thayerbirding.

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