Why Is A Group Of Crows Called Murders: A Comprehensive Guide

Why Is A Group Of Crows Called Murders? Brace yourself for a murder mystery like no other! 

These mischievous avian detectives have earned themselves a collective noun that’s as captivating as it is dark. 

Join us on a journey through history, culture, and the behavior of these intelligent creatures to unravel the secrets behind this intriguing name. 

Get ready to discover the hidden depths of the avian world!


Why Is A Group Of Crows Called a Murder?

In the world of collective nouns, there are some fascinating terms that capture the imagination.

One such term that stands out is the collective noun for crows, known as a “murder.”

Yes, you read that right—a group of crows is called a “murder.”

This intriguing and somewhat dark association instantly piques our curiosity.

So, why exactly is a group of crows called a murder?

Let’s delve into the origins, history, cultural perceptions, and behavior of these intelligent birds to uncover the story behind this unique collective noun.

A Babble of Words

Language has always been a dynamic and ever-evolving system.

Throughout history, people have found creative ways to describe groups of animals, often using vivid and imaginative terms.

These collective nouns add color and depth to our vocabulary.

Just as we have a “pride” of lions or a “gaggle” of geese, a group of crows became known as a “murder.”

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A Capital Offence

The origin of the term “murder” in relation to crows can be traced back to the 15th century in England.

During that time, the word “murder” not only referred to the act of killing but also signified a flock or group of crows.

It is believed that this association came about due to the birds’ distinctive and somewhat sinister appearance, as well as their scavenging nature.

The Birds Of The Parlement Of Foules

In the 14th century, the famous poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem called “The Parliament of Fowls.”

In this poem, he mentioned a “murder of crows,” cementing the term in literature.

Chaucer’s work had a significant impact on the English language, and his usage of the term “murder” for a group of crows likely contributed to its popularity and enduring presence in our collective consciousness.

Collective Nouns for Birds

Collective nouns are not limited to crows alone.

They add a touch of whimsy to the English language, allowing us to describe groups of animals with unique and imaginative terms.

For example, a group of geese is called a “gaggle,” a group of owls is called a “parliament,” and a group of hawks is called a “cast.”

Carrion Crow

To better understand the association between crows and the term “murder,” let’s take a closer look at the behavior and characteristics of these birds.

One common species of crow is the carrion crow (Corvus corone), known for its jet-black plumage and cunning intelligence.

Carrion crows are often found near carrion, feeding on the decaying flesh of animals.

This scavenging behavior, coupled with their dark appearance, may have contributed to the choice of the term “murder” for a group of crows.

Cultural Perceptions of Crows

Crows have long held symbolic and cultural significance in various societies.

In many mythologies and legends, they are associated with death, darkness, and mystery.

The black color of their feathers, their raucous calls, and their intelligent nature have often led to them being depicted as omens or messengers of the supernatural.

These perceptions may have influenced the naming of a group of crows as a “murder,” further enhancing their mysterious aura.

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Observations of Crow Behavior

A. Collective Behavior in the Wild

Crows, those dark and enigmatic birds, are known for their fascinating collective behavior.

If you ever find yourself in the presence of a group of crows, also known as a “murder,” you might witness a mesmerizing spectacle.

These intelligent creatures exhibit social interactions that capture the imagination and intrigue of those who observe them.

B. Congregation and Social Interactions

Crows are highly social animals and often gather in large numbers.

They can be seen congregating in parks, open fields, or even perched on power lines.

These gatherings serve various purposes for these avian creatures.

They engage in vocalizations, cawing in a manner that creates a lively and vibrant atmosphere.

These vocalizations are not just random noise; they serve as a means of communication between individuals within the group.

During these gatherings, crows also engage in fascinating interactions.

They engage in mutual grooming, helping each other clean their feathers and maintain their appearance.

This behavior strengthens social bonds within the group and promotes a sense of unity among its members.

Through their interactions, they establish a hierarchy, with dominant individuals taking charge and maintaining order within the murder.

C. Mobbing Behavior and Communal Roosting

One of the most intriguing aspects of crow behavior is their tendency to engage in mobbing behavior.

Mobbing occurs when crows collectively target a potential threat, such as a predator or intruder, by ganging up on it and creating a raucous uproar.

This behavior is not only a display of their fearlessness but also a strategy to protect themselves and their territory.

Communal roosting is another notable behavior observed among crows.

At dusk, crows gather in large numbers at communal roosting sites, typically in trees or tall structures.

These roosts provide safety in numbers, as the collective presence of crows deters potential threats.

Roosting together also allows them to exchange information, such as food sources or potential dangers, further strengthening their survival strategies.

Through their collective behavior, crows exhibit a level of intelligence and cooperation that is awe-inspiring.

Their social interactions, mobbing behavior, and communal roosting demonstrate a complex social structure within the murder.

Remember, this is just one aspect of the intriguing world of crows.

Stay tuned for more insights into why a group of crows is called a “murder” as we delve into the historical origins and cultural symbolism associated with these mysterious birds.

FAQs About Why Is A Group Of Crows Called Murders

What is a group of ravens called?

A group of ravens is commonly referred to as an “unkindness.”

What is a flock of crows called?

A flock of crows is also known as a “murder.”

Why is a group of ravens called an unkindness?

The term “unkindness” for a group of ravens is derived from the Old English word “unlǣdnes,” meaning “evil or hostile disposition.”

It reflects the historical perception of ravens as birds associated with darkness and mystery, often considered an ill omen.

What do you call a group of owls?

A group of owls is called a “parliament.”

This term originates from the belief that owls are wise and knowledgeable creatures, symbolizing the wise council of humans.

What is a group of hawks called?

A group of hawks is commonly referred to as a “cast.”

What is a group of birds called?

In general, a group of birds is called a “flock.”

However, there are specific collective nouns for different species of birds, such as a “murder” of crows or a “parliament” of owls.

What is a group of animals called?

A group of animals can have various collective nouns depending on the species.

Some examples include a “herd” of elephants, a “pride” of lions, or a “school” of fish.

What group of animals is called a conspiracy?

A group of animals known as a “conspiracy” refers specifically to a group of lemurs.

This unique term captures their secretive and elusive nature.

What is a pack of crows called?

A pack is not a commonly used collective noun for crows.

Instead, a group of crows is typically referred to as a “murder.”

What do you call a group of blackbirds?

A group of blackbirds is often called a “cloud,” emphasizing the dark and swirling patterns created by their collective flight.

What is a group of robins called?

A group of robins is known as a “worm.”

What is an unkindness of animals?

An “unkindness” is a specific term used for a group of ravens, not a general collective noun for animals.

The association of “unkindness” with ravens is due to their historical perception as mysterious and potentially menacing creatures.

What is a group of octopus called?

A group of octopuses is commonly referred to as a “consortium” or “collective” of octopuses.

However, it is important to note that octopuses are typically solitary creatures and do not exhibit strong social behaviors or form groups in the same way as some other animals.

What is a group of hippos called?

A group of hippos is known as a “pod,” “herd,” or “bloat” of hippos.

These terms reflect the social nature of hippos, as they are semi-aquatic mammals that often gather in groups near bodies of water.

Within a pod or herd, hippos establish a social hierarchy, and their numbers can range from a few individuals to dozens.

What is a group of jaguars called?

Unlike some other animals, jaguars are predominantly solitary creatures and do not form large groups.

Therefore, there is no widely recognized collective noun specifically for jaguars.

However, if multiple jaguars were to gather in a specific area due to an abundance of prey or territorial reasons, they could be referred to as a “shadow” or “sneak” of jaguars.

What is a group of crabs called?

A group of crabs is commonly called a “cast” or “consortium” of crabs.

These terms reflect the tendency of some crab species to gather in large numbers, particularly during mating or molting seasons.

In some cases, when crabs come together in massive aggregations, they may also be referred to as an “army” or a “migration” of crabs.

Final Thoughts About Why Is A Group Of Crows Called Murders

In conclusion, the question of why a group of crows is called a “murder” is not only an intriguing linguistic quirk but also a reflection of the unique characteristics and cultural perceptions surrounding these intelligent birds.

The historical origins, the scavenging behavior, and the association with darkness and mystery all contribute to the captivating collective noun.

Exploring the stories behind collective nouns like “murder” allows us to appreciate the richness of language and the fascinating connections between humans and the natural world.

So, the next time you encounter a group of crows, remember the captivating tale behind their name, and let your imagination take flight with these clever and enigmatic creatures.

Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.