What is a Group of Penguins Called?

Have you ever asked yourself what a group of penguins is called? Well, you might see penguins on TV, in a zoo, or in magazines, but the collective noun for a group of penguins varies with their actual location. And there is no single definition for what a group of penguins is called. Depending on where they are and what they are doing, you might have to use different words to mention a group of penguins.

In this article, we are going to take a look at some of these collective nouns that are used to describe penguins in groups. A group of penguins on land is called a colony. The penguins mostly gather in a group during the breeding season, and these huge colonies are called rookeries.

In these rookeries, penguins breed by initiating mating calls and bonding with each other. After mating, penguins also raise their chicks in these rookeries as the group of penguins provides a safe environment for young chicks.

The colonies can comprise as less as 100 pairs, and as many as thousands of penguins huddled together in the case of the king, macaroni, and chinstrap penguins.

Another term for a group of penguins on land is a waddle. This is specific to when penguins are on the move from one location to another. The walking motion of penguins is called a waddle because penguins have short legs and their knees are close to their bodies. This makes the penguin walk look like a waddle, and hence the name.

Why do Penguins Stay in Groups?

 Penguins Staying in Group
Penguins Staying in Group

Penguins are mostly social animals and they stay in groups for a number of reasons. Staying in groups provides them with safety from predators and helps them to survive the harsh environmental conditions in the Antarctic regions.

Grouping together while hunting also allows them to hunt efficiently for fish and krill under the water. Staying together in close proximity also allows the penguins to share body heat as the penguins keep rotating their place to maximize heat retention.

As penguins often go through long fasting periods, staying in a group increases their chances of survival. They can get protection from the elements, predators, and conserve energy needed to make it through the fasting period.

What Is a Group of Penguins on Water Called?

When in water, a group of penguins is called a raft. Penguins often swim and hunt together as it increases their chance of getting more food by herding or trapping krill. More penguins in water also mean that they are at less risk from any predators as each penguin can warn the others in case a predator is sighted.

Penguins are social animals and many of their activities such as hunting, feeding, breeding, and hatching of the chicks are done in groups.

What Is a Group of Baby Penguins Called?

Baby penguins are called chicks, and a group of baby penguins is called a crèche of penguins. Smaller penguins usually stay together, but they are fed only by their parents. Staying together helps the penguin chicks to get protection from external threats such as predators and extreme weather conditions.

Penguin chicks also learn to socialize and interact by staying with each other. The safest place for a penguin to be is at the center of the crèche and there is intense competition among penguin chicks to stay at the center. At the periphery of the crèche, the chicks are vulnerable to weather, predators and even other penguins.

It is interesting to note that not all penguins from crèche. Macaroni penguins that build their nest in burrows do not have the need for a crèche. Humboldt penguins are small in size so forming a crèche doesn’t suit their breeding or feeding patterns.

A Group of Penguins is also called a Huddle

King penguins in group
King penguins in group

Another collective noun for a group of penguins is called a huddle. A huddle is mostly used for Emperor penguins that gather together at  -20 °C temperatures to conserve body heat. These huddles can last anywhere from 12 minutes to several hours.

But the penguins at the center of the huddle can find themselves in a high-temperature zone very quickly and the huddle is often broken so that the penguins can lower their body temperature again.

In times of snowstorms that can last for days, the huddle of penguins slowly moves by rotating places to send penguins at the outer edges towards the warmer interior of the huddle. These huddles allow penguins to maintain their body temperature and conserve energy in the times when there is a scarcity of food because of adverse weather conditions.

Other Collective Nouns for a Group of Penguins

There are several other collective nouns for a group of penguins. A parade of penguins is a common one. When penguins move from one location to another in search of food, shelter or breeding grounds, they often waddle, skip, hop, and jump on their way. Their collective movement can look like a parade.

Similarly, a group of penguins is also called a muster which means an assembly. As penguins often gather in large numbers for protection from cold and the elements, they are also referred to as a parcel of penguins. A town of penguins, a shiver of penguins, a formality of penguins, a pride of penguins, and tobogganing of penguins are some of the other collective nouns for a group of penguins.


Penguins are wonderful birds and they have a natural tendency to gather in groups. This is why there is no singular term for a group of penguins, but several interesting ones. The collective noun used for a group of penguins varies from species of the penguin to the activity they are involved in.

We hope this article has been helpful in shedding light on various collective nouns for a group of penguins. Do you know any other interesting collective nouns for a group of penguins? Which collective noun is your favorite of all? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.





Image Credit:

  1. Penguins Staying in Group by Antarctica Bound / CC BY
  2. King penguins in group by Hans / Pixabay License

1 thought on “What is a Group of Penguins Called?”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top