Ducks are cute, social, intelligent, and playful animals. We often see them in large groups or family groups, with babies trailing after their mothers. On an average farm, you might find 20 ducks in a group. But in the wild, they gather in groups in the hundreds or even thousands. Seeing them waddling together or floating on a pond can be a beautiful sight. But what is a group of ducks called? And how do they function in these large gatherings?
What is the Term for a Group of Ducks?
When ducks are walking on land, they are a “flock of ducks” or a “waddling of ducks.” When flying, they are a “skein.” And when they are swimming, you can call them a “raft of ducks.” What you call a group of ducks, greatly depends on their location.
If those don’t suit your liking, there are many more general collective nouns you can use for ducks:
Collective nouns for swimming ducks include puddle (puddling), pontoon, paddle (paddling), and raft.
Here are some more names for flying ducks: team, flight, fleet, wedge, and string. Then for walking ducks, you can also use badling, battling, and badelyng.
It’s safe to say you will never run out of things to call a wabbling of ducks.
Why is a Group of Ducks Called a Raft?
We call a group of ducks a “raft” when they are in the water because they stick close together and look similar to a raft floating on the water. Ducks form rafts during the day or night, often sleeping huddled together. This provides them with safety from predation. Predators are less likely to attack when there are many in a group, and there are more lookouts for possible threats.
The word “skein” is used for a flying group of ducks, but it actually refers to many wildfowl species. It specifically describes birds that fly in V formations. But skein also refers to a loosely coiled and knotted length of thread or yarn, which is similar to what flying birds look like in their tight formations.
How Do Ducks Function in a Flock?
Ducks are social birds, but this isn’t the only reason they form groups. They feel more at ease when they live in large flocks because they have a higher chance of survival. But how exactly do ducks function in a group?
Winter is when ducks live communally, feeding and sleeping near each other. But it is also the time of year when they form their pair bonds for the breeding season. Unlike songbirds that wait until after spring migration to form pairs, ducks look for their mates in the winter.
Males and females generally live together without much issue. And most flocks have a leader that initiates movements throughout the day.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about “what is a group of ducks called?”
What is a Group of Mallard Ducks Called?
A group of mallard ducks in flight is called a flock. But on the ground, you can refer to them as a sord, as in a “sord of mallard ducks.”
What Do You Call a Group of Ducks Walking?
There are many collective nouns for ducks on the ground. The most common way to refer to ducks walking is a flock. But you can also call them waddling, badling, battling, and badelyng. For example, “I saw a waddling of ducks at the farm.”
What Do You Call a Group of Male Ducks?
There doesn’t seem to be a distinction between the names of male and female duck groups; males and females live together, so their collective nouns would be the same. A group of male ducks would be a flock, a group of female ducks would be a flock, and a group of mixed-gendered ducks would also be a flock.
What Do You Call a Group of Geese?
Since ducks and geese have many similarities, do groups of geese have the same names as duck groups?
Sometimes! When a group of geese are in flight, they are called a skein, team, a “V” formation, or wedge, just like ducks. On the water, they can also be called a wedge, if swimming close together. Also like ducks, the most generic term for a group is “flock.” However, when on the ground or in the water, they are often referred to as a gaggle of geese.
Also like ducks, there are many general collective nouns you can use for geese, including: bunch, chevron, christmas, cluster, covert, drove, flight, gagelen, gagelynge, herd, knob, knot, lag, nide, nye, plump, sord, string, sute, and trip. There seems to be quite a lot of creativity and preciseness involved in naming groups of ducks and geese!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Maria Jeffs
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