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.
  • Congregation: This term is commonly used to describe a group of birds that gather in a specific location, such as a congregation of eagles.
  • Covey: This term is typically used to describe a group of game birds, such as quails or partridges.
  • Colony: This term is used to describe a large group of birds that nest or roost together. It is often associated with seabirds, such as a colony of penguins or a colony of seagulls.

These are just a few examples of the many collective nouns used to describe groups of birds. The specific term used often depends on the species and their behavior.

Species-Specific Collective Nouns

Some collective nouns are specific to certain bird species. These terms have evolved over time and are often rooted in cultural or historical contexts. Here are a few examples:

  • Murder: This term is used to describe a group of crows. It is believed to have originated from the birds’ association with death and their scavenging behavior.
  • Parliament: This term is used to describe a group of owls. It is thought to stem from the birds’ reputation for wisdom and their association with ancient Greek and Roman mythology.
  • Exaltation: This term is used to describe a group of larks. It reflects the birds’ melodious songs and their ability to soar high in the sky.
  • Charm: This term is used to describe a group of goldfinches. It highlights the birds’ vibrant colors and enchanting presence.

These species-specific collective nouns add a touch of whimsy and intrigue to our understanding of birds and their unique characteristics.

Unusual and Lesser-Known Collective Nouns

In addition to the more commonly used collective nouns, there are some lesser-known and unusual terms that are worth exploring:

  • Ascension: This term is used to describe a group of larks in flight, emphasizing their ability to ascend to great heights.
  • Descent: This term is used to describe a group of woodpeckers, highlighting their habit of descending trees in search of food.
  • Parade: This term is used to describe a group of penguins on land, evoking images of their distinctive waddling walk.
  • Host: This term is used to describe a large group of sparrows, reflecting their sociable and gregarious nature.

These lesser-known collective nouns provide a glimpse into the creative and imaginative world of avian terminology.


Collective nouns for birds not only serve as linguistic tools but also offer insights into the behavior, characteristics, and cultural associations of different species. From the versatile “flock” to the species-specific “murder” and “parliament,” these terms add depth and color to our understanding of the avian world.

Next time you spot a group of birds, take a moment to appreciate the collective noun that best describes them. Whether it’s a flock of pigeons or a charm of goldfinches, these terms remind us of the beauty and diversity of the natural world.


1. Are collective nouns for birds standardized?

No, collective nouns for birds are not standardized. They can vary depending on regional dialects, cultural associations, and historical usage. Some terms are more widely recognized and used, while others may be specific to certain regions or communities.

2. How do collective nouns for birds develop?

Collective nouns for birds often develop over time through cultural and historical associations. They can be influenced by the birds’ behavior, appearance, or unique characteristics. Some terms have ancient origins, while others may have emerged more recently.

3. Are there collective nouns for specific bird families?

Yes, there are collective nouns that specifically describe groups of birds from certain families. For example, a “congregation” is often used for birds of prey, while a “colony” is commonly associated with seabirds. These terms reflect the nesting or roosting behaviors of these bird families.

4. Can collective nouns for birds change over time?

Yes, collective nouns for birds can change over time. Language is dynamic, and new terms can emerge while others may fall out of use. The development and evolution of collective nouns are influenced by cultural shifts, language trends, and the way people perceive and interact with birds.

5. Are there any collective nouns for extinct bird species?

While there may not be specific collective nouns for extinct bird species, the general collective nouns for birds can still be used to describe groups of extinct birds. For example, a group of extinct dodos could be referred to as a “flock” or a “colony” of dodos.

Ishita Kapoor
Ishita Kapoor
Ishita Kapoor is a tеch bloggеr and UX/UI dеsignеr spеcializing in usеr еxpеriеncе dеsign and usability tеsting. With еxpеrtisе in usеr-cеntric dеsign principlеs, Ishita has contributеd to crafting intuitivе and visually appеaling intеrfacеs.

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