RE: Collective noun for breeding penguins

To: <>
Subject: RE: Collective noun for breeding penguins
From: "Stanley, Mark M" <>
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2008 14:24:34 +0800
Rookery originally was the collective noun for the nests of Rooks (a
colonially breeding Eurasian corvid). We also have Heronry for Herons.
Extending the pattern to other species e.g. Cormorants does not sound
right so the Rookery term is used. So we see its use for Ibises, Egrets,
Spoonbills, Pelicans and some Penguin species. What all these species
have in common is a substantial nest that remains after the birds have
gone and which may be reused in subsequent years. Therefore one can have
an Adelie Penguin Rookery - because their stone nests remain after the
birds have left, but no Emperor Penguin rookery because they have no
nests. It is not generally used for most Gulls and Terns as their nests
are too flimsy to survive though Noddies may qualify. Burrowing seabird
species may qualify e.g. Jackass and Little Penguins. Not sure about
Shearwaters and Petrels but definitely not smaller colonial species such
as Bee-eaters, Swallows and Martins, Finches etc.

So a rookery refers to the place the nests are built, but not too the
birds themselves. The breeding birds form a colony which may occupy a

I think.

Mark Stanley

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