A Congregation of Crocodiles & Other Collective Nouns

How would you feel if you were trapped amidst a  congregation of crocodiles? Would a corps of giraffes make your heart beat any easier? Do you think a crèche of penguins would be well cared for by a crash of rhinoceroses? Would a cry of hound dogs be rendered speechless by a dazzle of zebras?

congregation of alligators, wikimedia commons

congregation of alligators, wikimedia commons

A congregation of alligators, crocodiles, or plovers – Crocodiles and alligators, both reptilian predators, are social animals and tend to group together. A group of plovers is also known as a congregation, but plovers are not reptiles. They are a widely distributed group of wading birds.

A convocation of eagles – A convocation is an assembly. An eagle is a predatory bird, so I would use a convocation of eagles to describe a group of them gathered around a carcass. A convocation of eagles, therefore, could be used to appropriately describe a group of money-hungry relatives waiting on their rich father, uncle, grandfather, etc. to die.

a corps of giraffes, flickr

a corps of giraffes, flickr

A corps of geese or giraffes – A corps is a group of people acting together or under common direction. In my mind, this pretty well describes a group of geese that fly in formation through the air. A corps of geese was the cause of the plane crash.

Corps is also a military term. The military comes to mind when I think about a corps of giraffes racing across the savannah in Africa.

A cote of doves – A cote is a dove cage or a place where doves find shelter. A cote of doves flew into the cote during the fierce rainstorm.

a coterie of prairie dogs, wikipedia

a coterie of prairie dogs, wikipedia

A coterie of prairie dogs – Prairie dogs like each other’s company and live in colonies. Each colony is divided up into coteries, made up of underground burrows and tunnels. A coterie is made up on a family of these cute little chattering animals.

A cover of coots – Coots are medium-sized water birds. Strong swimmers and divers, they strongly resemble ducks, but are members of the rail family of birds.

a covey of quail, flickr

a covey of quail, flickr

A covey of grouse, partridges, ptarmigans, or quail – Grouse, partridges, and quail are all members of the same bird family, Tetraonidae. The word “covey” simply means a group or company.

A cowardice of cur dogs – Commonly thought of as randomly bred dogs or mixed-breed dogs, cur dogs are very useful to the farmer because of their size, strength, and loyalty. Why the collective noun “cowardice” is used to describe a group or gathering of them is puzzling to me. Maybe to make them feel less worthy than their pure-bred counterparts?

a crash of rhinoceroses, flickr

a crash of rhinoceroses, flickr

A crash of rhinoceroses – Rhinos are not small animals. The white rhino, who isn’t actually white, can weigh up to 6,000 pounds. The Sumatran rhino, who is the smallest rhino, still weighs in at 1,300 to 2,000 pounds. That doesn’t sound too small to me. These huge land mammals can run between 30 – 40 mph, so it is easy to understand why a group of them is called a crash.

a creche of juvenile king penguins, wikipedia

a creche of juvenile king penguins, wikipedia

A crèche of penguins – Not just any group of penguins is a crèche, the French word for crib. A crèche describes a group of penguin chicks that are too big to stay in the nest, but they are not ready to swim off yet. Generally not guarded by adults, they still have their downy feathers and huddle together in order to stay warm.

a dazzle of zebras, wikipedia

a dazzle of zebras, wikipedia

A dazzle of zebras – When you see a group of zebras together with their black and white fur shining in the sun, it is a dazzling sight, so they are appropriately called a dazzle of zebras.

A crowd of porpoises – A calf is a young porpoise. A cow is a female porpoise and a bull is a male porpoise. A group or gathering of porpoises is a crowd.

a cry of hound dogs, wikimedia commons

a cry of hound dogs, wikimedia commons

A cry of hound dogs – I have found several different suggestions for the collective noun for hound dogs, but I think this one is the most fitting. A group of hound dogs do cry and they make a lot of noise doing so. No disrespect intended towards hound dogs or elderly ladies, but a cry of hound dogs puts me in mind of a group of elderly ladies spreading some really juicy gossip.

 

girl writing, etc.usf.edu

girl writing, etc.usf.edu

Writing Prompts:
Use a convocation of eagles in a story to describe a group of money-hungry relatives waiting on their rich father, uncle, grandfather, etc. to die.

Write a story about how you would react if you woke up in a congregation of crocodiles. Would you be able to escape from them? Or do the crocodiles surprise you and treat you as one of their own?

A corps of geese was the cause of the plane crash. Did these geese cause the plane crash on purpose? Were they hired by someone to do so?

Are cur dogs cowardly in any way? Write a story about how “cowardice” became their collective noun.

Do you think a crèche of penguins would be well cared for by a crash of rhinoceroses? Write a story about how these huge rhinoceroses gently cared for a crèche of penguins. Were the penguins terrified when they found themselves in the midst of these giant animals? How did they get there?

Would a cry of hound dogs be rendered speechless by a dazzle of zebras? It would definitely be strange if they were. But in the land of fiction, anything can happen. Write a story about a cry of hound dogs that is approached by a dazzle of zebras. The hound dogs don’t make a sound. Why don’t they? Do the zebras have some kind of control over these dogs?

In stories and at times in real life, little old ladies are known for spreading juicy gossip. Write a story where a cry of houd dogs is used to describe such a group of little old ladies. In the midst of spreading gossip, they uncover the truth about a murder that has taken place in their little town. Are they able to see that the murderer is put behind bars?

 

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A Bamboo of Pandas
Cats – Egyptians, a Pope, & the Middle Ages
A Flight of Dragons
Pavophobia and a Pride of Peacocks

  3 comments for “A Congregation of Crocodiles & Other Collective Nouns

  1. Liz
    February 28, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Lisa, I am teaching ESL in Costa Rica. May I have your permission to use the information from your website with my students and pin some of your pictures onto my board.. I promise I will not misuse it. I have made a board on pinterest- “Animal Collective Nouns”, so that my students will associate the animal with the name and noun. It is still in progress- I hope to clean it up by deleting excess posts, organizing them, and putting the collective noun with each animal before I use it with my students. Thank you!

    • February 28, 2016 at 4:52 pm

      Yes, you may use the information and pictures from my website for your students. Thank you so much for asking my permission and letting me know what you will be using it for.

  2. Liz Nyreen
    February 28, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Lisa I am sorry that I forgot to state specifically that I think your website is wonderful and so full of great information and ideas. Liz

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