I was watching a quiz show on television (probably Jeopardy) and one of the questions referred to the collective group name for a bunch of crows. My first thought was that I knew the answer…a murder of crows. My second thought had to do with why a bunch of crows would be referred to as a murder of crows.
We've all used the commonly known term of herd when referring to a bunch of cattle or horses or buffalo. Different groups of animals are collectively referred to by specific designations. And many of those collective group names make us scratch our heads and wonder who called them that and why.
So, my curiosity got to me and I did a little digging into collective group names for various animals.
Here's some that I found particularly interesting…and strange.
Alligators? They congregate in a congregation. However, crocodiles group together in a bask or a float. And rattlesnakes are a rhumba.
Barracudas are referred to as a battery (seems more appropriate for a group of electric eels). Jellyfish group together in a smack. And sharks form into a shiver (a name that seems very appropriate and properly descriptive).
Buzzards bunch into a wake. Eagles form a convocation or an aerie. A group of owls is a parliament or a stare. Ravens form an unkindness or a storytelling (shades of Edgar Allen Poe). And swallows give us a flight or gulp (which seems to fit with swallow).
Cats…as a general collective they can be a clowder or clutter or pounce or dout or nuisance or glorying or a glare. Wild cats specifically form into a destruction.
Giraffes group into a tower (seems very appropriate).
Gnus are an implausibility (seems only right for an animal that starts with a silent letter).
Porcupines come in a prickle (again, an appropriately named collective).
Wolves, in general, group into a pack. However, if the wolves are moving they are known as a route or rout.
Zebras are known as a zeal or crossing or dazzle or cohorts in addition to the traditional herd.
And in the rodent community…we have ferrets grouped into a business. Squirrels are known as a dray or scurry.