Wing Flapping Displays As Agonistic Behavior

I introduced this series of posts addressing “agonistic behavior” with the following definition, from the Wikipedia article on the subject: “The term has broader meaning than aggressive behaviour because it includes threats, displays, retreats, placation, and conciliation.”

This post highlights wing flapping by ducks as an example of agonistic behavior that is clearly not fighting (but could be considered a warning that could prevent a fight.)

I love Cinammon Teals! In February of 2020 I had the pleasure of visiting the State of Arizona Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area, also named an “Important Bird Area” by the Audubon Society. My photo of a wing-flapping display by a Cinammon Teal just after dawn renews my golden memories of that visit to Whitewater Draw (my third).

A bit more mundane but no less beautiful are two photos taken at Francis Short Pond in my own home town of Flagstaff, Arizona. The first captures a moment of a mallard (drake, I think) wing-flapping display enthusiastic enough to kick up a spray of droplets. The golden light striking the mallard in the second photo (a hen, I think) makes it no less compelling than the other two photos highlighted in this post.


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