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What is a flock of owls called?

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Wise old owls are nocturnal creatures, sitting quietly on tree branches, gazing into the dark void in search of prey. Due to their nocturnal and solitary behavior, owls can be difficult to spot. Usually, when we see one, they are alone. But this is only true sometimes. So what is a flock of owls called, and how do these intelligent creatures function in one?

Owl Flock Names and Origins

Three tawny owls sitting on a branch
What is a flock of owls called? The most common name for a flock of owls is a council, as in "Parliament of Owls". But you could also call them stares, tweets, congresses, and wits.

© Photo by Artur Mikołajewski / Creative Commons – Licensed

The most common way to refer to a flock of owls is to call them councils. Some other less common owl flock names include Stare, Hoot, Congress, and Wisdom .

It doesn't actually end there. Here is a list of more collective nouns for owls:

  • group
  • look
  • accuse
  • market
  • Eyrie
  • looming
  • privacy
  • bend over
  • nest
  • a pair

When the birds fly together, it is called silence. Owls are known as silent hunters because of their specially shaped fringed wings that reduce friction and noise as they move through their roost. However, it's very rare to see a flock or even a pair of owls flying together, so you probably won't use the word very often.

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Why is a flock of owls called a parliament?

There are various theories as to the origin of the term "Parliament of Owls". It's safe to say that no one really knows for sure.

One theory places it in ancient Greece, when wise leaders would gather in councils. When you combine that with the folklore of owl cleverness, you can see how the connection was made. Also in Greek mythology, the symbol of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, is an owl.

We can also trace the word back to classical poetry and literature. In the 1300s, the poet Geoffrey Chaucer used the term "Parlement of Foules" in one of his works. Then CS Lewis wrote in the 1950s about a council of owls meeting at night to discuss important matters in The Chronicles of Narnia. Because of the enormous success of the book, we may well attribute the term to Mr. Lewis.

What is a group of little owls called?

A flock of young owls is called a brood, and the term for small owls is owl. So instead of saying "a litter of owls", you would say "a litter of owls".

Do owls flock?

Two little owls or Athene noctua
Some owl species will roost together and fly together. Owls roost in groups to keep warm during the cold winter months and to protect themselves from predators.


Owls are usually solitary animals and are rarely seen in flocks or pairs. Occasionally, however, groups or councils do form, depending on the species. When this occurs, there are usually no more than five in a group, and they consist of members of the same family or species. Some species also cohabitate and fly together. Barn owls, burrowing owls, and short-eared owls are the species most likely to form small flocks.

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When do owls flock?

During the breeding season, owls are usually only seen in pairs or alone. They are more likely to form groups outside of the breeding season (fall and winter). During the day, you may find them roosting quietly together.

How does the owl group work?

The most common way to discover the wisdom of owls (been waiting to use it) is when they roost outside of the breeding season. Owls roost in groups to keep warm during the cold winter months and to protect themselves from predators. However, most owl species hunt alone. Unlike many animal groups, owls do not appear to have a strong pecking order.

Will the owls stay together forever?

most romantic animal
As a general rule, owls are monogamous—pairs consist of a male and a female, neither of whom is related in any way to other nesting birds.

©iStock.com/Paolino Massimiliano Manuel

Most owls are monogamous and keep companions for life. However, some species may only stay with their mates for a few years before finding new ones. When their mate dies, they take the other with them. They perform courtship rituals and return to the same nesting site each year. Their chicks fly out of the nest when they are six to eight weeks old.

How long do owl families stay together?

Some owls, such as barred owls, are more dependent on their parents. After leaving the nest, tabby owl siblings stay together for several months while their parents still bring them food. By early fall, their parents begin weaning them until they fly away on their own.


  • How do owls sleep?
  • Are owls nocturnal or diurnal? their sleep behavior explained
  • Owl vs. Crow: Great Bird Wars!
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More from AZ Animals

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A barred owl sits on a branch in Florida.
A barred owl sits on a branch in Florida.


about the author

Niccoy is a professional writer and content creator focusing on nature, wildlife, food and travel. She graduated from Florida State University with a business degree before realizing that writing was her true passion. She lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and loves hiking, reading and cooking!

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