Herds and Leaps: Collective Nouns
Here in Africa, we love telling stories – around a camp fire, bedside stories, Old Wive’s Tales and fables handed down from generation to generation. We’re also fans of some of the wild collective nouns given to the beloved animals who call Africa home.
With this in mind, we made up a little story using some of our favourites.
An African Tale
The King, and his troop of lions sat quietly under an ancient, enormous Umbrella Thorn tree. It was late afternoon, and they were lazy, the hot, summer sun still being high in the sky. A kettle of vultures circled in the bright blue. Something must've died.
In the branches of the tree above, a leap of leopard lingered lazily, watching their bigger cousins nap below.
Through drooped eyelids, the troop and the leap noticed an obstinancy of buffalo mingling with a zeal of zebra, way across the savannah plain. The King flicked his tail and thought: 'lunch', but he was way too sleepy to do more than the tail flick.
Down on the banks of the river, a bask of crocodiles lazed too, until the African sun got too hot on their backs and they flopped, one by one, into the cool water, only their eyes showing above.
A little further downstream, a memory of elephant watched their young splashing and splooshing, baby trunks still unwieldy. Mid-stream, more eyes - a bloat of hippo, floating and grunting, their afternoon nap disturbed by the youthful exuberance of the elephant babes.
In the shallows, a flamboyance of narcissistic flamingoes flattered each other, preening and prancing, oblivious to everything except their particularly pretty pink reflections. They fluffed up their tail feathers, however, as a tower of giraffe ambled awkwardly toward them. Those long legs? No competition for a flamingo. And so ungraceful as they bent down to drink! The flamingos sniggered and the giraffes ignored.
As the sun set over the African bush and dusk turned to night, a parliament of owls swooped silently from their perches, looking for a mischief of mice, nest of snakes, bed of scorpions and lounge of lizards… Dinner! A mob of meerkats looked up quickly and scurried for shelter.
A galaxy of stars and a sickle moon watched over the bush as a crash of rhino moved slowly across the plains to the sounds of a cackle of hyena, laughing. A murder of crows flapped uneasily from their night-time resting spot in a stillness of baobab trees.
The husk of Riverine Rabbits shuddered to hear such things as the lion and his troop roared, drowning out the orchestra of crickets.
It's just another night in Africa.