In my earlier post about a rare observation of a fierce Black-headed Gull fight, I tried to find literature references about such behavior.
I was only able to find one: Martin Moynihan describes the attack behavior of Black-headed Gulls in his 1955 study Some aspects of reproductive behavior in the black-headed gull (1955) and related species.
I have since obtained a copy of this book (of which I will do a report in a later post) and can now elaborate further on his findings.
Moynihan mentions that an attack (on the ground) of a Black-headed Gull usually consists of one gull rushing at its opponent which almost immediately flees, thereby avoiding any contact.
He goes on to say that real fights are not very common but that some fights can result in one bird getting hold of part of the opponent’s body (in particular the neck or the wings), and will then “hang on for dear life”.
This is exactly what can be seen in my video.
He also goes on to say that ground fights don’t last very long and that the losing bird manages to free itself and flies off in a hurry.