Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Meaning:

People tend to associate with those who share similar interests or values.

Example: Ed met most of his friends at the gym. Now, a few times every week, they all meet up and exercise as a group. Thus, as the saying goes, birds of a feather flock together.

In other words, Ed and his friends enjoy doing similar things together, like going to the gym.

Synonyms / Related Phrases:
two peas in a pod
Birds of the same feather flocking together, flying in the sky.
A large flock of birds. Where are they going?

The Origin of ‘Birds of a Feather Flock Together’

The phrase ‘birds of a feather flock together’ is at least over 470 years old, as it goes back to the mid-16th century. William Turner is said to have used a version of this expression in the Rescuing of Romish Fox, from the year 1545:

“Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together.”

Neat, but do birds of the same feather really flock together? They sure do. It’s a common sight to see when you’re outside. You’ll see pigeons flying together with other pigeons, ravens with ravens, and so on. You don’t really see one kind of bird grouping up with another kind.

Do you know how big bird flocks can be?

They vary greatly in number; some birds might travel together only with a dozen or so of its kind, while others, like the Red-billed Quelea, can form flocks that number into the thousands! Imagine seeing that in person; it’d be like a giant cloud. Though, you wouldn’t want it rain on you, that’s for sure.

Anyways, hundreds of years ago, a birds flocking behavior began to be applied metaphorically to people who acted similarly, and so now we have this saying.


Did you know?

Flocking allows birds to use less energy when flying. For example, in a V formation, each bird flies in the wake of another, which reduces the wind resistance for the ones in the back. The bird in the front has it the hardest, but they take turns being the leader, so it’s not so bad. Neat!