Animal Group Names
Have you ever wondered about the names of groups of animals? Some animals live individually, some live in pairs but many animals live in groups. Living in a group can have its advantages. Some animals, such as lions and wolves, hunt in a group making it easier to catch prey that may be difficult to catch if they were on their own. Other animals save energy by living and moving in groups, such as ducks who ride in another duck's slipstream when migrating, or some birds which huddle together in winter to avoid losing excessive heat. Living in a group can also afford some protection from predators and also makes it easier for animals to breed.
This page will show some of the different animal group names, from the more common to the bizarre. You'll find lots of lovely pictures of animals too. The bigger pictures (not the thumbnail pictures) are for sale and you can click on the pictures or on the Buy link if you would like to buy the animal poster. I've also included some animal group worksheets.
Picture credit: biberta on morguefile
Pride of lions - A group of lions is called a pride
A pride of lions constantly changes as new litters of cubs are born and young male lions reach maturity at about 3 years of age and leave the pride.
The size of the pride can also change - in times of plenty it can be as big as 20 or 30 members but during harder times, numbers will be reduced.
Herd of elephants - A group of elephants is called a herd
Elephant herds are matriarchal, meaning a dominant female controls the herd. Mostly, she will stay the leader until she dies, when her oldest daughter will take over. As the males get older, they are forced out of the herd, but females stay in the same group for all their lives.
A mad dash of noisy elephants
Poetic Collective Animal Nouns - A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in Poetry
Clan of hyenas - A group of hyenas is called a clan
The spotted hyena lives in a clan which is dominated by the alpha female and her relatives. A hyena pup's social status is inherited from its mother.
Video with Hyena Clan Information
Pack of wolves - A group of wolves is called a pack
A pack of wolves often has a strict hierarchical order. An alpha male and female will dominate the rest of the pack although the whole pack works in cooperation when bringing down large prey.
Troop of Baboons - A group of baboons is called a troop, congress or flange
Most baboons live in hierarchical groups ranging in size from 5 to 250. In the case of Hamadryas baboons, these groups are made up of many smaller family groups. In other species of baboons, related females live in troops and unrelated males join this troop and fight for dominance and the right to mate with the females.
Funny video of baboons crossing river
Crash of Rhinos - A group of rhinoceroses is called a crash or herd
Rhinoceroses are usually solitary animals, preferring their own company. However white rhino females are more placid and are happier to stay in groups, particularly the mother and her calf and up to seven young rhinoceroses. Male rhinoceroses are always solitary and territorial creatures.
When 2 male white rhinos get together... - Maybe that's why it's called a crash of rhinos!
Colony of Flamingos - A group of flamingos is called a colony, pat, flamboyance, flurry, regiment or stand
Lesser flamingos forms groups of tens or hundreds of birds. They gather in the breeding season and march back and forth, raising and lowering their beaks in an attempt to impress a future mate.
The greatest pink show on earth - Now that's flamboyant!
Herd of Swans - A group of swans is called a herd, bank, sounder, drift, lamentation, bevy, eyrar, wedge (flying) or regatta (on the water)
Swans form monogamous pair bonds that can last for life even when the swans migrate or assemble in large groups. The adult male swan is called a cob, the adult female is a pen, and the young swan is called a cygnet.
Colony of Penguins - A group of penguins is called a colony
King penguins can form colonies of thousands of penguins during the breeding season. They congregate on beaches and in sea-side, snow-free valleys. Inside the colony, breeders tend to be found separate from the non-breeders.
King Penguin Behaviour
Murder of Crows - A group of crows is called a murder (a poetic term from the 15th century) or flock
Although crows usually forage for food separately, in autumn (fall) and winter, they will often gather together when it's dark, into huge groups to roost. The size of this group can be less than one hundred but it is often tens of thousands and sometimes more than one million.
Now that's a lot of crows!
Pod of whales - A group of whales is called a pod
The size of a pod of whales varies with the different species of whale: A pod of minke whales usually only contains 2 or 3 whales, whereas a pod of sperm whales may contain up to 20 individuals and a pod of killer whales may contain up to 40 individuals.
Humpback Whale Pod in Alaska
School of fish - A group of fish is called a school or shoal
Fish swim in schools for protection against predators - the more fish the smaller the chance of an individual fish being caught. Schools of fish also make it easier for individuals to find a mate.
Swarm of jellyfish - A group of jellyfish is called a swarm, fleet, smack or bloom
Jellyfish can collect together in huge swarms, sometimes covering hundreds of square miles of ocean. Usually there are a few jellyfish per square meter, but sometimes, there can be more jellyfish than water. They tend to group together to make it easier to reproduce.
Jellyfish, jellyfish everywhere! - Jellyfish Lake in Palau
Want to learn more animal group names? - A Crash of Rhinos, A Party of Jays: The Wacky Ways We Name Animal Groups
Animal collective nouns worksheets
Animal Group Names Word Searches
(Word search puzzle for finding simple animal group names - herd, colony, swarm, flock, pack, pod, school, litter, plague, shoal)
(Word search puzzle for finding simple animal group names. Also fill in the blanks - (herd) of elephants, (colony) of ants, (swarm) of flies, (flock) of birds, (pack) of wolves, (pod) of whales, (school) of fish, (shoal) of fish, (litter) of kittens, (plague) of locusts)
(Word search puzzle for finding harder animal group names. Also fill in the blanks - (gaggle) of geese, (band) of gorillas, (pride) of lions, (parliament) of owls, (flock) of sheep, (mob) of emus, (murder) of crows, (army) of caterpillars, (crash) of rhinoceroses, (leap) of leopards, (gang) of elk, (troop) of baboons, (bevy) of swans, (colony) of bats)
(Word search for animals which live in large groups)
What's the biggest group of animals you have seen?
Thomas F. Wuthrich from Michigan on April 18, 2013:
Very well put-together lens, loaded with interesting tidbits for any animal lover and lots of beautiful photos and posters. I enjoyed this!
Lee from Derbyshire, UK on March 15, 2013:
Really nice lens, very informative
Johann The Dog from Northeast Georgia on December 31, 2012:
Great info!!! I'm proud to say I'm a member of a pack!
Mary Crowther from Havre de Grace on December 27, 2012:
Great lens, Angel Blessings!
ResearchAddict on August 29, 2012:
BryanLSC on September 10, 2011:
When I visited the Redang islands off the east coast of Malaysia few years back, I was snorkeling off one of the beaches and eventually found myself surrounded by a HUGE school of fish! That was really amazing!
itsmuzza2011 on March 17, 2011:
crazy bats in a cave in Brazil... about a trillion, or thousands anyway , great lens
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on October 22, 2010:
Good question. Maybe ants, but I don't know the collective name for them. How about a page just of insect names?
JollyvilleChick on October 18, 2010:
Probably the biggest group of animals I've seen are here in Austin - one million Mexican free-tailed bats living under one of the bridges town down. I've seen them at dusk when they all leave the bridge and head out looking for mosquitoes. It looks like smoke streaming out...and out...and out..and out.
I like how you've organized the information with the photos, caption/description, and links to more photos and the coloring pages.
CynzdaReveur on October 17, 2010:
This is really informative ad interesting.. Such a creative idea for making this lens..;)
Sherry Venegas from La Verne, CA on October 15, 2010:
Good target study. I guess the different terms are are established by whims of the word community? Are there scientific rules for same group names? Haha. I don't know. Good progress on your Tier One goal. Mine does not have Google love. I have to be patient and wait. yay.
teatree on October 15, 2010:
I'd never heard of a "murder" of crows - but given how dark and menacing they look when flying together, it's appropriate!
DecoratingEvents on October 13, 2010:
The school of fish are beautiful. I saw lots while snorkeling just over the reef on the island of Guam. The colors are breathtaking. Great lens and good luck!
Linda Jo Martin from Post Falls, Idaho, USA on October 13, 2010:
I was in the middle of a huge flock (?) of seagulls at the BART station in Pittsburg, CA...
capriliz lm on October 13, 2010:
A pride of lions just sounds so right and just for such a majestic animal. Very nicely done and good luck with your Tier 1 challenge. I just joined myself.
gia combs-ramirez from Montana on October 13, 2010:
What's a group of humans called? A crowd? (I'm serious here!) My biggest group was a HUGE group of manta rayas that we saw when snorkeling. It was amazing.
CCGAL on October 12, 2010:
I think a herd of Roosevelt Elk up in the Pacific Northwest. One time I had to stop on the highway between Crescent City and Orick to let a HUGE herd of them cross the road. I think there must have been 50 or more. I saw a pod of whales once, just south of that spot ... and saw at least 7 different whales migrating ... there may have been more. Can't forget the gaggles of Aleutian Geese that descend on Del Norte County - those are awesome to behold. Oh, wait ... bats. At certain times of the year we have bats (here in Texas) that stream out from under the bridges, and there are thousands of them, so I guess that's the most I've seen. (Welcome to the Tier One Challenge!)
aliwatson on September 26, 2010:
Love a murder of crows! Super lens great fun and packed with info
JoyfulPamela2 from Pennsylvania, USA on March 25, 2010:
I've always wondered how family groups have gotten all these funny names! Great photos with you information. My son who loves animals will enjoy reading this. :)
Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on March 15, 2010:
Awesome! Such a pretty page too! I honestly do not believe I have ever heard a murder of crows before. What a really neat lens. Angel Blessed and added to my Squid Angel Mouse Tracks lens.