Bird Groups

To: "'Judy Philip'" <>, "'Jim Reside'" <>
Subject: Bird Groups
From: "Bruce Roubin" <>
Date: Sat, 15 Feb 2003 18:09:50 +1100
Quite a few years ago on a quiz on the ABC radio program "My Word", the correct collective noun for ravens was claimed to be "a suicide of ravens".
Apparently, the association of murder and suicide with crows and ravens is on account of the black plumage (and owes something to the works of Edgar Allen Poe).
In the same vein, it's just as well "funereal cockatoo" didn't catch-on too much for our Yellow-tailed black cockatoo -  on account of the long black tails evoking a "mourning suit".
It may be a coincidence, but the aptness of "suicide of ravens" was brought out in an earlier birding-Aus email which I've extracted from the 1998 archives and appended  under my signoff
Bruce Roubin

  • To:
  • Subject: ravens on electricity towers
  • From: Peregrine <>
  • Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 01:54:42 -0400 (EDT)
  • Cc:

Please help us volunteers at the Birds Australia office in Sydney with
this tricky question....

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to dissuade Australian Ravens
from nesting on electricity towers? The ravens are apparently causing
problems  for the people at the BHP steel works in Port Kembla by
shorting out the  wires and committing suicide on the  lines.  The BHP
people have   heard of people elsewhere building platforms to encourage
birds to nest  in less inconvenient locations and want to know if there
are any sucessful  designs of platforms which have been used in Australia
or overseas. I  know in the US platforms are built above the lines for
ospreys but I don't know if that would work for ravens.
If anyone in the vast pool of experience which is the internet has any
suggestions on possible solutions or  where to research this sort of
thing, please reply directly to me.

many thanks, and good birding,

Katie Bertsche

-----Original Message-----
From: [ On Behalf Of Judy Philip
Sent: Saturday, 15 February 2003 2:52
To: Jim Reside
Subject: Re: [BIRDING-AUS] Bird Groups

Jim Reside wrote:
Hello Folks, Just a request for some bird trivia information. A young friend has been asked to find out what the collective _expression_ is for a group of Ravens and a group of Gulls. I have only heard of people referring to a "murder" of Crows, I think, and assumed that it referred to both Crows and Ravens. I have never encountered something for Gulls other than a flock. I hope somebody can enlighten me and my young friend. Thanks, Jim Reside


A quick search of 'Google' under 'collective nouns' turned up a site - - which also (yes it had a "murder of crows") offered a "colony of gulls" and an "unkindness of ravens" - the latter sounds a bit odd.

Judy Philip
Adelaide, South Australia

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