While on Safari in South Africa with my friends Mike, Kate, JD and David we found ourselves on the discussion of collective nouns. What is a collective noun? It is a word used to describe a collection of animals, people or things. For animals like Lions we all knew they were called a “pride”, there’s a “murder of crows” and Elephants are a “herd”. What about the rest of the animals that you see on safari? We were quite surprised to find out a bunch more on our trip for almost every animal that we saw. I have put together my best list of the collective nouns of animals on safari below. From what is a group of giraffes called? Or a group of zebras? Hippos and more.
A Dazzle of Zebras!
The collective noun for Zebras? A Dazzle! I think it probably takes the cake for the best animal collective noun ever.
What is the collective noun for vultures?
A Venue of Vultures! If they are flying in the sky and circling they would be called a Kettle. Some might even call them a “committee” .
A journey of Giraffes!
Journey is a great collective noun for giraffes for when they are on the go. You could also use the collective noun tower for Giraffes when standing still.
The collective noun for Dung Beetles? A shitload of dung beetles… not sure if I believe this one but it is pretty hilarious.
What is the collective noun for Leopards?
A leap of Leopards. Not so scary sounding until you imagine them leaping on you for dinner. That makes it better.
A lot of us know that the collective noun for elephants is a herd. However there is another one that is not as commonly known. A memory of Elephants. I think that is quite fitting.
What is the collective noun for a group of kudu?
Before visiting South Africa I had never heard of Kudu. However after I saw one for the first time I learned a collective noun for them is a forkl of Kudu. Interesting… not sure what a forkl is either but I do know that Kudu taste damn delicious on the braai (South African BBQ).
What is the collective noun for Cheetahs?
Cheetah’s are hard to find on safari and it’s even rarer to find a group of them together. But it can happen. A group of cheetahs is known as a “coalition”, sounds kind of top secret doesn’t it?
A “crash” of Rhinos!
Rhinos can be gentle giants so their collective noun might not always fit their personalities. But they don’t have those spikey horns for nothing. These guys are my favourites, and their collective noun is a “Crash”. Love it!
A “waddle” of penguins!
I didn’t see these Jackass penguins on Safari but I did see them on Boulders Beach in Cape Town, South Africa. There are several collective nouns for Penguins and my favorites are a “raft” for when they are in the water together and a “waddle” for when they are on land.
It was definitely a fun learning experience to hear these collective nouns for these beautiful African animals. One of the coolest things we heard as well is that Wildebeest are known as an “implausibility” and although we did see some it was ironically an implausibility for me to get a good photo of one!
UPDATE: Since first writing this post I have traveled to see a lot more beautiful animals in the wild. Because of that I have also learned a lot more collective nouns for them. Here are some more great ones to add to your vocabulary.
Gorillas – band, troop or my favourite a whoop of Gorillas. (Learn more about trekking to see Gorillas here)
Sloths – a bed of sloths.
Flamingoes – a stand, regiment or flamboyant of flamingoes.
Hyenas – a cackle of hyenas.
Pandas – A bamboo, an embarrassment or a cupboard of Pandas.
Porcupines – A prickle of porcupines.