What Are Groups of Birds Called? The Collective Nouns For Birds

Birds of a feather flock together, but what is this flock called? Turns out, it depends on the species!

As our avian friends take to the skies, they often gather in social groups of birds that are not only visually captivating, but also come with unique names.

These special terms, known as collective nouns, bring a touch of poetry and whimsy to our language, enriching our descriptions of avian behavior and adding a dash of charm to birdwatching experiences.

Collective Nouns for Birds, Birds Group Names

From a “charm” of finches to a “murder” of crows, the collective nouns for birds not only convey the beauty of the natural world, but also evoke a sense of wonder and curiosity.

So, let’s spread our wings and delve into this enchanting lexicon, exploring the captivating collective nouns and names for groups of birds below.

List of Collective Nouns For Birds

Bird Species Collective Nouns
Avocets Bouquet
Bitterns Siege
Blackbirds Murmuration
Bluebirds Band
Bobolinks Chain
Chickadees Party
Chiffchaffs Confusion
Choughs Chattering
Cockatoos Mob
Coots Commotion
Cormorants Gulp
Coots Commotion
Cranes Caravan, Congregation
Crows Murder
Curlews Curfew
Dotterels Trip
Doves Pitying
Ducks (on water) Paddling
Ducks (in flight) Skein
Dunlins Fling
Eagles Congregation, Parliament
Emus Mob
Finches Charm
Flamingos Flamboyance
Geese (on ground or water) Gaggle
Geese (in flight) Skein
Goldfinches Charm
Grouse Brood
Hawks Cast
Herons Sedge, Siege
Hummingbirds Charm, Quiver
Ibises Wisp, Congregation
Jackdaws Clattering
Jays Party, Scold
Kingfishers Coterie
Kestrels Hovering, Kettle
Loons Raft
Magpies Tiding
Owls Parliament
Partridges Covey
Penguins Colony
Peacocks Muster
Pelicans Flotilla, Pod
Pheasants Bouquet
Pigeons Plump, Flight
Plovers Trip, Congregation
Puffins Congregation, Circus
Quails Covey, Bevy
Ravens Horde, Unkindness
Robins Round
Rooks Parliament
Sandpipers Fling
Sparrows Host
Starlings Constellation, Murmuration
Swallows Flight
Swans Lamentation
Terns Colony
Thrushes Charm
Toucans Parliament
Turkeys Brood, Gang
Vultures Kettle
Woodpeckers Descent

Final Thoughts

Many of our favourite collective nouns for birds date back to the 15th century, and have managed to stay in our memory as they were recorded and published in Books of Courtesy handbooks designed to ‘educate nobility’. 1

Some of the group names of birds are straightforward in their meaning, named after obvious attributes or behaviour, while others are more perculiar or a product of the time.

A ‘murder of crows’ likely comes from medieval peasants fears of the jet black, and slightly ‘sinister-looking’ birds that were often seen in graveyards, while ‘an unkindness of ravens’ refers to their perceived poor parenting in the 19th century.

If you’re unsure of the true collective noun for a species, then a flock of birds is the most common!

Fact Sources & References

  1. Paula Lester (2020), “Collective nouns for birds: Why we call it a murder of crows, murmuration of starlings and a conspiracy of ravens“, Country Life.