After many, many weeks of social distancing we are all greatly missing our friends and families and I am sure, like me you are all looking forward to a time when hugs and kisses no longer have to be virtual.
In the animal kingdom while there are many animals that prefer to live in isolation (except for mating) – bears, leopards, sloths, wolverine, lionfish – the majority of animals prefer safety in numbers. There are so many groups in nature, in fact that they have special names, so I thought it would be fun to take you through some of them.
PENGUIN – Like most birds, large groups of penguins, like the Emperor Penguins at the top of this post (from the internet) are called flocks or colonies, but since there are a most singular group of birds they also have some customized monikers. Other than in the Galapagos, where I photographed the endemic Galápagos penguins along the rocks, and in New Zealand catching a view of the smallest penguins, the little blue, I haven’t yet had the opportunity of seeing the bigger penguins in the wild.
I thoroughly enjoyed the antics of rockhopper penguins in the Boston Aquarium – they have quite an attitude:
Hopefully soon I will visit Antarctica where the Emperor Penguins spend their days, and it is groups of these giants of the penguin world that have so very apropos names:
- on floating ice in the water, they are called RAFTS
- on the land they are called WADDLES
- when they are tightly bunched side by side to ward off the icy winds and snow they are called HUDDLES
FLAMINGO – Flocks of this large water bird in the wild can easily total over several hundred. The pink color of the top feathers (the under feathers are black which can be seen when the flamingoes fly) comes from shrimp and other crustaceans as well as plankton that flamingos eat. These foods contain beta-carotene which creates the pink color.
This fiery color gives groups of flamingoes this name: FLAMBOYANCE.
Flamingoes are playing a major role in Mumbai India’s Covid19 lockdown. While the birds have been flocking there every season, this year due the total lockdown the numbers have been astronomical – take a look at this video:
Lockdown positive: Pink flamingos make spectacular show at Navi Mumbai creek.
— Himanshu Shekhar (@HimaanshuS) April 19, 2020
ARACARI TOUCANS – The groups of these colorful birds are not as large as the other birds above, (Emperor penguin huddles can have up to 20,000 pairs and flamingo flamboyances can have over a million birds) but they also have a unique term.. Usually their groups are relatively small – from 6 to 15 individuals, and they play a critical role in the rainforests by dispersing seeds. For this, and perhaps for their tenacity a group is called a DURANTE which in Spanish means endure, stubborn or obstinate:
More animal groups to come!