A Group of Birds is Called: Exploring the Fascinating World of Avian Terminology


When it comes to the English language, there are numerous collective nouns that describe groups of animals. From a “herd” of elephants to a “pack” of wolves, these terms add color and depth to our understanding of the animal kingdom. In this article, we will delve into the captivating world of avian terminology and explore what a group of birds is called.

The Importance of Collective Nouns

Collective nouns serve an essential purpose in language. They allow us to describe groups of animals succinctly and vividly. These terms not only facilitate effective communication but also reflect the rich diversity and behavior of different species.

When it comes to birds, there is a wide array of collective nouns that have been used throughout history. Some of these terms are specific to certain species, while others are more general and can be applied to various types of birds.

Common Collective Nouns for Birds

Let’s start by exploring some of the most commonly used collective nouns for birds:

  • Flock: This is perhaps the most well-known and versatile term for a group of birds. It can be used to describe any gathering of birds, regardless of the species. For example, a flock of pigeons or a flock of seagulls.
  • Flight: This term is often used to describe a group of birds in flight. It is particularly applicable to migratory birds that travel together in large numbers, such as a flight of geese or a flight of swallows.
  • Congregation: This term is commonly used to describe a group of birds that gather in a specific location for a particular purpose, such as feeding or roosting. For instance, a congregation of crows or a congregation of flamingos.
  • Covey: This term is typically used to describe a group of birds that live and move together, often in search of food. It is commonly associated with game birds, such as a covey of quail or a covey of partridges.
  • Murder: This intriguing term is used specifically for a group of crows. It is believed to have originated from the birds’ association with death and their scavenging behavior.

Species-Specific Collective Nouns

In addition to the more general collective nouns, certain bird species have their own unique terms. These species-specific collective nouns often reflect the behavior or characteristics of the birds in question. Here are a few examples:

  • Parliament: This term is used for a group of owls, reflecting the wisdom and solemnity often associated with these nocturnal birds.
  • Colony: This term is commonly used for a group of penguins, as they often gather in large numbers for breeding and nesting purposes.
  • Exaltation: This poetic term is used for a group of larks, capturing the joyous and melodious nature of these songbirds.
  • Stand: This term is used for a group of flamingos, as they often stand together in shallow water while feeding.

Unusual and Lesser-Known Collective Nouns

While the aforementioned collective nouns are widely recognized, there are also some lesser-known and more unusual terms that have been used to describe groups of birds:

  • Charm: This term is used for a group of goldfinches, reflecting the beauty and charm of these small, colorful birds.
  • Descent: This term is used for a group of woodpeckers, emphasizing their habit of descending trees in search of food.
  • Parade: This term is used for a group of penguins on land, as they often march together in a single file.
  • Wreck: This term is used for a group of seabirds, particularly when they are found dead or washed ashore in large numbers.

The Evolution of Avian Terminology

The collective nouns used to describe groups of birds have evolved over time, often influenced by cultural, historical, and linguistic factors. Some terms have ancient origins, while others have emerged more recently. The diversity and creativity of these terms reflect the human fascination with birds and our desire to capture their essence in language.

For example, the term “murder” for a group of crows is believed to have originated from the Old English word “murthor,” which means “crow.” Similarly, the term “parliament” for a group of owls can be traced back to the Latin word “parliamentum,” meaning a speaking assembly.

As language continues to evolve, new collective nouns for birds may emerge, reflecting our changing understanding and appreciation of these remarkable creatures.


The world of avian terminology is a fascinating one, filled with a rich tapestry of collective nouns that capture the essence of different bird species. From the versatile “flock” to the species-specific “parliament” and “colony,” these terms add depth and color to our understanding of the avian world.

Next time you spot a group of birds soaring through the sky or perched on a branch, take a moment to appreciate the collective noun that best describes their gathering. It is a testament to the beauty and diversity of the natural world.


1. Are collective nouns for birds standardized across all English-speaking countries?

No, collective nouns for birds can vary across different English-speaking countries and regions. While some terms may be widely recognized and used, others may be more specific to certain areas or communities.

2. Are there any collective nouns for birds that are no longer in common usage?

Yes, there are several collective nouns for birds that have fallen out of common usage over time. These terms may have been replaced by more commonly used alternatives or simply faded from use. However, some of these lesser-known terms can still be found in older literature or regional dialects.

3. Can collective nouns for birds be used interchangeably?

While some collective nouns for birds can be used interchangeably to describe a group of birds, others are more specific to certain species or behaviors. It is important to consider the context and characteristics of the birds in question when selecting the appropriate collective noun.

4. Are there any collective nouns for birds that are considered outdated or offensive?

There are no collective nouns for

Navya Menon
Navya Menon
Navya Mеnon is a tеch bloggеr and cybеrsеcurity analyst spеcializing in thrеat intеlligеncе and digital forеnsics. With еxpеrtisе in cybеr thrеat analysis and incidеnt rеsponsе, Navya has contributеd to strеngthеning cybеrsеcurity mеasurеs.

Read more

Local News