5 July 2005


Collective nouns are fascinating. Who knows where some of their origins lie? For birds, the vocabulary is particularly groovy. Here are just a few choice collective nouns. Next time you are in the English countryside, watch out for murmurations of starlings or a bouquet of pheasants! And you never know – you might witness a mutation of thrushes:-

Choughs - chattering
Coots - commotion
Crows - murder
Eagles - convocation
Finches - charm
Geese - chevron (when flying in V-formation), flock (when on the ground), gaggle (when on water), skein (when flying), string, wedge (when flying)
Guillemot - loomery
Gulls - colony, skein (when flying high over long distances)
Magpies - mischief
Oystercatchers - parcel
Owls - parliament
Pheasants - bouquet
Ravens - unkindness
Redwing - crowd
Sparrows - host, tribe
Starlings - murmuration
Stork - mustering
Thrushes - mutation
Turkeys - rafter
Turtle doves - pitying
Woodpeckers - descent
Wrens - herd, chime


  1. I guess chickens are just plain flock. Well I have a flock of 8.

  2. If you're lucky, you might even see a band of gorillas.

  3. I'll put in my two cents' worth, even six years too late:

    an exaltation of larks


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