Types Of Birds That Flock Together

Center frame: Canada Goose flying over water,. The goose's wings are large and spread. The goose is flying low, so low that its wing its almost in the slate blue water. The goose is grey and brown with a long pblack neck, and black head, with a white throat. Out-of-focus natural outdoor background.
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Written by Niccoy Walker

Published: November 28, 2022

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Did you know that a flock of crows is called a murder? Or that starling murmurations are one of the most fascinating displays in the natural world? There are several purposes to flocking. One, there is safety in numbers. Birds can identify and defend against predators easily when grouped. And two, flocking enables them to fly farther and use less energy by creating uplift. Learn to identify groups of birds by discovering the types of birds that flock together.  

Blackbirds

New World blackbirds, or icterids, are small to medium-sized passerine birds. And contrary to their name, many in their family have colorful plumage. There are over 100 blackbird species, most of which live in temperate or tropical regions. Populations that breed in the United States and Canada migrate to Mexico and Central America during winter. They flock together in the fall before migrating and often congregate in enormous numbers, occasionally with mixed species flocks that include starlings. Flocking provides many benefits, such as warmth, food availability, and procurement. Blackbirds partake in murmurations, in which the congregation moves in mass with one mind.

Slightly right of center frame, a lone blackbird is perched on a naked branch, facing left. He's is black with sa round yellow eye, and a smaller round black pupil.  against a cloudless blue sky.

All blackbirds aren’t black.

Starlings

Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds with an extensive global range; the only areas they do not occupy are arid deserts. There are hundreds of starling species and even more subspecies, all inhabiting different regions of the world. Some species are migratory, such as the white-shouldered starling, which breeds in Southern China and Northern Vietnam, and winters in Southeast Asia. Most are highly social and associate in large flocks throughout the year. Many grouped bird species belong to larger bird families, but starlings are small birds that flock together. These birds also form murmurations and display swarm behavior when congregating in enormous groups. Starling murmurations are one of the most dazzling displays in the animal kingdom, which features thousands of birds moving as one body with one mind.

European Starling perched on a cylindrical post. The bird is center frame facing left. It has a yellow beak and legs / feet. The bird itself has a speckled appearance.with some iridescence around its throat.  Out-of-focus green background.

Some species of Starlings are migratory.

Robins

While there are several robin species, the American robin is the most well-known. They are migratory birds that belong to the true thrush genus and are the most abundant bird in North America. Many United States populations live year-round in their environments, while those that breed in Canada and Alaska migrate to Mexico and Central America during the winter. However, these birds don’t wait for the migration to flock; they are active during the day and assemble in large groups at night. They also feed in large flocks, watching nearby birds for signs of predators. 

American robin perched on a branchThe Robin is center frame., looking left. The bird has a rust-colored body, and medium brown wings and darker brown black  head, its eye is rimmed with white. indistinct green background.

Robins that live in Canada and Alaska migrate to Mexico and Central America during the winter.

Pigeons

Pigeons are medium to large birds from the Columba genus. There are over 30 pigeon species, and they reside in various habitats worldwide. The most common city pigeon, or domestic pigeon, is a subspecies of rock dove often seen near human habitations. Unlike most birds, pigeons do not migrate. They prefer to stay in their environments year-round and easily survive cold winter months. However, they still flock together. Sometimes they form small groups of 20 or so, while other times, you can find them in huge gatherings numbering in the thousands. They use their tight-knit groups for protection, and they stay together in the presence of predators for the greater flock’s good.

A rock pigeon sitting on  a slanted cedar roof.The bird is center frame looking right. It has stunning plumage - mostly light gray around its middle, with black scents on its wings and tail feathers. Its head is powder blue its neck iridescent emerald green and royal purple. Its beak is sharp and gray. A  slightly out-of-focus white stucco building with a dsmallish double window at its top center, fills in the frame.

Unlike most birds, pigeons do not migrate.

Flamingoes

Flamingoes are popular bright pink wading birds found throughout the Americas and Afro-Eurasia. These colorful birds are noisy, highly social creatures who spend their lives in warm regions of the world. They are almost always found in flocks in the wild, and their groups can number thousands during the breeding season. A group of flamingoes is called a flamboyance. They use a flocking system for protection while their heads are down in the mud. These species are also known for making friends for life. They form buddies with other flamingoes, which helps them live longer lives.

Two flamingos, one center frame, one right Fram, Facing right. They are pink The one on the right has lavender legs. There are other out-of-focus flamingos in the background.

A group of flamingoes is called a

flamboyance

.

Cranes

The cranes are a bird family comprising long-legged, long-necked, wading birds with a cosmopolitan distribution. Cranes are solitary and territorial during the breeding season but are gregarious during the winter, forming large flocks to roost, feed, and socialize. Like other flocking birds, cranes use large groups to defend themselves from predators. But they also use sedges (a group of cranes) to increase the likelihood of unmated birds finding a partner. Sandhill cranes form enormous groups (tens of thousands) on their wintering grounds and fly together during migration. You can often find them flying extremely high over the skies of North America.

Six sandhill cranes flying through the center frame. The cranes' long lease are stretched out straight behind them, horizontally.They have long necks and beaks. Their wings are scalloped / fringed. . The cranes are mostly off white to cream to taupe = not colorful, The sky is the background.

Sandhill cranes use sedges (a group of cranes) to increase the likelihood of unmated birds finding a partner

Storks

Storks are another group of long-legged, long-necked wading birds, but they prefer drier regions like grasslands and savannas compared to other waders. Several stork species are found worldwide, and many are migratory, moving to warmer climates during the worst of winter. These birds are very social, forming a muster or phalanx. A muster of white storks can reach thousands of individuals, which they form during migration and on wintering grounds. Groups of 50 or more will also gather during the breeding season and nest together.

wood stork flying and facing Right. It is mostly white , with black and white wings It has long legs hanging down behind it. The sky is the background.

A muster of white storks can reach thousands of individuals.

Egrets

Egrets are technically herons and belong to another group of long-legged wading birds. These birds have an extensive range, inhabiting every continent while avoiding the coldest regions, arid deserts, and extremely high mountains. They are primarily solitary but will congregate in large numbers during breeding. They prefer to nest in these large colonies over water as it provides security and safety from predators. Egrets also migrate in small groups and may forage in mixed flocks. A group of egrets is called a sedge, siege, skewer, or congregation.

Reddish egret (Egretta rufescens) standing tall in water with its massive wings spread. It has along thin neck. Mostly brown with a white bar / tripe running vertically across each wing. Background is water and distant sky.

A group of egrets is called a sedge, siege, skewer, or congregation.

Geese

Geese comprise several waterfowl species and can be found over much of the world. You can find them in ponds, lakes, marshes, and fields. But also near human habitations, at city parks, schools, and golf courses. Geese are highly social animals, and when they are in a group, they are referred to as a gaggle. They form pairs during the breeding season but are rather gregarious the rest of the year. Geese often forage together, taking advantage of the same food supply. They migrate in large flocks for easier travel.

A canada goose, frame right, looking left, is standing with its wings folded on ice, a frozen pond/lake. The goose is mostly gray/taupe with a long dark neck and a white throat. Its feet are not visible.

Geese comprise several waterfowl species and can be found over much of the world.

Pelicans

Pelicans are large waterbirds with a patchy distribution across temperate and tropical regions. There are eight living pelican species, and you can often find them in coastal and inland waters. Like most waterfowl, these birds are social creatures that gather in large groups for safety and convenience. They travel in flocks, and you can often observe them strung out in a line. They also hunt cooperatively and breed in groups called colonies, gathering on islands. Pelicans are loyal to their groups for at least one year. They establish colonies and remain a part of the colony for much of the year.

Four pelicans flying in a row from top of frame center to lower frame center. Thy are large birds with large wings,and their characteristic large beaks. The birds are mostly white with black accents. The sky is the background.

Pelicans are large waterbirds with a patchy distribution across temperate and tropical regions.

Crows

Crows are large passerine birds found throughout most of the world. The Corvus genus includes crows, ravens, and rooks, all of which form flocks. These species are known for being loud, intelligent, and extremely social. Crows sleep in mass communal roosts at night and disperse into smaller groups during the day to forage. Researchers believe they bring back knowledge of food sources to the group and use their extensive community for protection, warmth, and social opportunities. Crows have a bad rap for symbolizing death and possible negative transformations, so it doesn’t help that a group of crows is called a murder.

A crow, center frame looking back left. It is perched on a naked branch. It is black. Indistincet mostly green background.

Crows have a bad rap for symbolizing death so it doesn’t help that a group of them is called a

murder

.

Finches

What is an example of small birds that flock together? Finches! Finches are small to medium-sized passerine birds with a worldwide distribution. They are nonmigratory and occupy many habitats, including buildings, backyards, and urban areas. Finches are social birds who enjoy companionship, and a flock of finches is called a charm or a trembling. Most passerine birds are solitary and territorial, but finches prefer to be closely associated with others. They forage and nest in small groups and form hierarchies where females are typically dominant over males. These birds also return to the same area to breed and choose the same nest site each year, so they get to know their neighbors well.

a goldfinches lower frame right, looking left, perched on a small branch. The bird is yellow, with black andd gray wings. The top of the bird's head is black and its beak is orange,  Indistinct light green background. T

A flock of finches is called a

charm

or a

trembling

.

Large Birds That Flock Together

  • Pigeons
  • Flamingoes
  • Cranes
  • Storks
  • Egrets
  • Geese
  • Pelicans
  • Crows

Small Birds That Flock Together

  • Blackbirds
  • Starlings
  • Robins
  • Finches

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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