Collective animal names: how many do you know?

Whenever you see a group of the same species gathered together at any one time, there is a usually a specific name used to describe them. You are probably already familiar with a flock of sheep, a herd of elephants, and a pack of wolves, but what about the rest of the wonderful species we share this planet with?

Let’s explore some of the more weird and wonderful collective group names, as well as try to decode why they may have been given these names in the first place.


A group of these large, slow-moving, quill-covered rodents is named a prickle. Yep, a prickle of porcupines! In Latin, the word porcupine means “quill pig”, in part referring to the needle-sharp spines that help to protect them from being eaten by predators. Could you think of an animal more deserving of being called a prickle, especially since some quills can grow up to 30cm long?!


Although we often see foxes on their own, they actually tend to live in social groups of around three or four adults – with their collective name being a skulk. True to the definition of the word, these beautiful creatures are known for being stealthy and sneaky opportunists, lurking (or skulking) around in the hopes of finding food.


Many of us will know and love kaleidoscopes from our childhood, with all of the different colours making a variety of shapes before our very eyes. So it makes sense that a group of butterflies, fluttering together in the sky with their magnificent colours, would be called a kaleidoscope.


It might not come as a surprise to discover that a group of giraffe are often called a tower. Growing up to heights of six metres tall, these unique looking mammals truly are towering about the animal kingdom. It can only be assumed that their incredible height is the reason behind their fun group name.


A group of owls is commonly referred to as a parliament… yes, the kind that (in the UK) make laws, represent the people, and oversee the government. How these birds managed to receive this as their collective name remains a mystery, as with many species, but it could be linked to the perception that owls are intelligent and wise – something that a parliament must be too.


There are actually multiple group names for sharks but the term shiver seems quite fitting for an animal that has been portrayed in films as ferocious killers. It could be as a result of sending shivers down people’s spines or the fact that they are a cold-blooded species.


Flamingos are famous for their orangey-pink colouring, which is a result of the shrimp, algae and larvae they eat as it contains a red-orange pigment called beta carotene. As would be expected, a group of these glorious birds is called a flamboyance and, as per the definition of the word, flamingos are probably the most noticeable bird on our planet!

Disclaimer: when you Google collective names for animals, a lot of results appear all providing lots of different answers. The selected species and the group names featured in this article, are just some of the group names to describe these animals. For example, some say that a group of butterflies may also be called a swarm or a flutter, whereas a group of owls may also be known as a Congress. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any official or definitive animal group names.

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