A Pandemonium of Parrots: Collective Nouns for Animal Groups

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A pandemonium of Parrots

I recently posted an article on subject-verb agreement when the subject is a collective noun, and in researching collective nouns, I came across several sites that list the numerous and colorful names for groups of particular animals.

We all know dogs come in packs, cattle come in herds, and fish travel in schools. But did you know that a group of otters is called a romp or that a bunch of  peacocks is an ostentation?

Below is a fairly comprehensive list garnered from various locations on the web. I don’t know how authoritative it is, as no two sites had quite the same list. Who’s in charge of such matters anyway?

I found myself fascinated for hours (literally) by this list. So many of these names are beautiful, clever, or evocative. Take, for example, a bloat of hippos, a bouquet of pheasants, or a murmuration of starlings. I love the alliteration of a flamboyance of flamingos, a rhumba of rattlesnakes, or a scurry of squirrels. Or the humor of a prickle of porcupines, a memory of elephants, or a lounge of lizards (really?) I can’t pick a favorite — an ambush of tigers? A murder of crows? A pounce of cats? There is poetry here.

Please don’t resist the urge to talk about your favorites in the comments below! And, of course, feel free to share this.

*****

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About the Author

Brian Wasko

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

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  57. Walter White
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    My favorite: A fever of stingrays

  58. Bill
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    I believe a “Congress” of Baboons is also acceptable.

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  60. SHANKAR SARAN
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    What do you call a group of trees? A cluster? A stand?

  61. aa
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    what is collective nouns of pandas

  62. Krishna
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    My fave is GRUMBLE of pugs!

  63. LK
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    I see you have a ‘nest’ of mice, what would be the grouping designation of rats?

  64. Miz O'Connor
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    (Vacationing on the island of Kauai famous for its feral roosters)
    a racket of roosters

  65. Bonnie Noehr
    Bonnie Noehr07-16-2015

    So, the question is, how MANY of the animal does it take to qualify for the use of the collective noun? How many parrots in a pandemonium of them?

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko07-16-2015

      Two or more, I assume, but I don’t know for sure. Good question.

  66. CQ
    CQ04-09-2015

    A friend of mine, who co-founded and co-runs an animal sanctuary in Vermont, came up with a collective noun for roosters in this blog: http://blog.bravebirds.org/archives/2557 (As you read it, look closely for the asterisk!)

    As you’ll see, one of the commenters (CQ by name) referred readers of that blog to yours, Brian. Your commenters are quite as clever as the people who invented the names in your comprehensive list!

    BTW, I’m adding your blog to my favorites. :-)

  67. pam anderson
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    May I suggest: pandemonium of pandas , caravan of camels, armada of alligators, phalanx of armadillos or rhinoceros, mess of pigs, flotilla of pelicans, reunion of raccoons & brace of bears.

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko01-14-2015

      You may. “Brace” however, means “pair.”

      • ursina
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        I strongly suspect , bored poets.

  68. Abhra Das
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    Hi

    thanks for sharing such wonderful lnfo , would be happy if you pls tell the origin of such collective noun , i mean why do we call the group of otters as a romp or that a bunch of peacocks as an ostentation or Pandemonium of Parrots ?

    Thanks .

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko10-01-2014

      I wish I knew, Abhra. I wonder myself who invented the terms and how they came to be recognized.

  69. Elias Timberlake
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    What about ‘a gaggle of girls’?

  70. Angela phelps
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    I have been fascinated by these since childhood, as you say they evoke much more than the commonplace. As a teacher I introduce the more common of these each year, although they are not part of the national curriculum, because they are so delightful and in danger of not being known. We usually have fun with collective nouns for different professions. My favourite so far has been, ‘ an amen of vicars’!

  71. The Zen Parrot
    The Zen Parrot03-14-2013

    You left out Coven of Ravens.

  72. Mary Brueggemann
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    I think a “gulp of swallows” has to be the funniest one!

  73. Will
    Will03-13-2013

    “An ambush of tigers”
    LOL

  74. CJ
    CJ03-09-2013

    It’s interesting to see just how many there are. I can’t pick a favorite! An ubiquity of sparrows, a shiver of sharks, a parliament of owls, and a conspiracy of ravens were in my top 10. =]

  75. Brian Wasko
    Brian Wasko03-09-2013

    :)

  76. JJ
    JJ03-09-2013

    When you said fairly comprehensive, I think that was the understatement of the year :-) .

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