13 December 2010 by Julienne du Toit

A Blather of Blogs

I would like to find the names of the geniuses who thought up collective nouns for wild animals and personally thank them.

Here are my favourites:

1. An obstinacy of buffalo

2. A skulk of foxes

3. A tower of giraffes

4. An aurora of polar bears

5. A crash of rhinos

6. A shrewdness of monkeys

7. A dazzle of zebras

8. A romp of otters

9. A sneak of weasels

10. A skulk of jackals

The same person obviously had a run-in with a skunk. Why else would more than one be known as ‘a surfeit’?

I wish I had thought up even one of these, but they actually appear in that well-respected book, Beat about the Bush by Trevor Carnaby (Jacana).

There are plenty more in the mammal category that would absolutely delight you, but the bird ones also demand a mention.

1. A wake of vultures, for pity’s sake.

2. A parliament of owls

3. A murder of crows

4. A conspiracy of ravens

And just before you start thinking it’s getting a little Alfred Hitchcock in here, we also have

1. An exaltation of larks

2. A fling of sandpipers

3. A plump of moorhens and

4. A gulp of swallows.

The problem with this is that you start thinking up words for all kinds of other, non-animal groupings.

A gnarl of toes. An arrogance of politicians. A mouthful of dentists. A clutch of anxieties. A scribble of journalists. An intoxication of red wine…

Please add your own collective nouns in the Comments Box. Let’s build this thing!

Category: Wildlife

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