Wednesday, October 04, 2006


By John Ross Harvey

In the animal kingdom, there are groups
Usually with a different name
So they can distinguish themselves
From other groups
Like Herd of Elephants
Pride of Lions
Pack of Wolves
How exactly did that name come about?
School of Fish
A Pod of Whales
A Gaggle of Geese
A Colony of Ants, or an Army of Ants
A Troop of Chimpanzees
A Flock of Sheep
Not to be confused with
A Flock of Birds
Which aren’t murdering crows
Or gaggling geese.

Here’s a list I was able to Google from

Antelope Herd
Ants Colony or an army
Apes Shrewdness
Asses Herd or pace
Bacteria Culture
Badgers Cete
Bass Shoal
Bears Sleuth or sloth
Beavers Colony
Bees Swarm, grist or hive
Birds Flock, flight, congregation or volery
Bitterns Sedge or siege
Board Sounder
Buffalo Herd
Bucks Brace or clash
Caterpillars Army
Cows Kine of cows (twelve cows are a flink)
Coyote Band
Cranes Sedge or siege
Crocodiles Float
Crows Murder
Cubs Litter
Curlews Herd
Curs Cowardice
Cats Clowder or clutter
Cattle Herd or drove
Chickens Brood or peep
Chicks Clutch or chattering
Clams Bed
Cobras Quiver
Colts Rag
Coots Cover
Deer Herd
Dogs Pack
Doves Dule
Ducks Brace, paddling or team
Eggs Clutch
Elephants Herd
Elephant seals Pod
Elks Gang
Emus Mob
Ferrets Business or fesnyng
Finches Charm
Fish School, shoal, run, haul, catch or draught
Flies Swarm
Foxes Skulk or leash
Frogs Army or colony
Geese Flock, gaggle or skein (in flight)
Gnats Cloud or horde
Goats Herd, tribe or trip
Goldfinches Charm
Gorillas Band
Greyhounds Leash
Hares Down or husk
Hawks Cast or kettle
Hens Brood
Herons Hedge
Hogs Drift or parcel
Horses Team, pair or harras
Hounds Pack, mute or cry
Jellyfish Smack
Kangaroos Troop or mob
Kittens Kindle or litter
Larks Ascension or exultation
Leopards Leap (leep)
Lions Pride
Locusts Plague
Moles Labour
Monkeys Troop
Mules Barren or span
Magpies Tiding
Mallards Surd
Mares Stud
Martens Richness
Owls Parliament
Oxen Yoke, drove, team or herd
Oysters Bed
Parrots Company
Partridges Covey
Peacocks Muster or ostentation
Peeps Litter
Pheasants Nest, nide (Nye) or bouquet
Pigeons Flock or flight
Pigs Litter
Plovers Wing or congregation
Ponies String
Porpoises Pod
Quail Covey or bevy
Rabbits Nest
Rats Pack or swarm
Rattlesnakes Rhumba
Ravens Unkindness
Rhinos Crash or herd
Roebucks Bevy
Rooks Building or clamour
Seals Herd or pod
Sheep Drove or flock
Snakes Nest
Snipe Walk or wisp
Sparrows Host
Squirrels Dray
Starlings Numeration
Storks Mustering
Swallows Flight
Swans Bevy, herd, lamentation or wedge
Swifts Flock
Swine Sounder or drift
Teal Spring
Toads Knot
Trout Hover
Turkeys Rafter
Turtledoves Pitying or dule
Turtles Bale
Vipers Nest
Walrus Pod
Whales School, gam or pod
Wolves Pack or route
Woodcocks Fall
Woodpeckers Descent

Now that we know all the combinations listed above
That still explains nothing about why they got the name
And I’m hard pressed to come up with any reasons
Except that crows (or ravens) have been associated with evil and death
In literature for many years, probably dating back to Pagan beliefs
So Murder was a natural extension of the fear of Crows in humans.
Now you know something old, you just weren’t told before.

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