Yet another unusually fierce Black-headed Gull fight

I was observing Black-headed Gulls in a breeding colony today where I witnessed another rare occurrence of adult Black-headed Gulls involved in a fierce fight.

The following video is almost 4 minutes long but the fight itself had by then gone on for some time.

With all the commotion that is going on it is difficult to see if these are 2 males fighting over a female or 2 females fighting over a male. You would expect it to be 2 males but what is interesting is that both partners seem to be involved in the fight.

Each time the intruder is chased away, the pair approach each other and confirm their bond by a display of forward postures, oblique postures, head-flagging and some choking.

Scenes from last year

From 02:17, the intruder is pinned down and seemingly unable to do anything other than to wait it out. This is very much the same scene that I observed in the only other observation of such a fight, namely in June 2012 (see Rare Rage and Rare Rage Update). Here is the video of that moment:

It is still very unusual for me to see Black-headed Gulls display this type of behavior.

5 thoughts on “Yet another unusually fierce Black-headed Gull fight

  1. What do you think about this? Some amazing footage here – the cameraman has even caught the little flecks of saliva coming from the gulls’ mouths.

    GBBGs look even more brutal in slow-motion.

    • Nice footage! I have seen these types of fights several times in Lesser Black-backed colonies. It’s amazing to see how vicious they can be, and at the same time how little damage is apparently inflicted.

      • I think that it looks worse than it actually is most of the time. If they weren’t holding each others’ beaks and were actually ripping into each other, I think that one gull would end up dead and the other nearly dead (which is probably why they’re holding beaks when fighting) – but really they’re just slapping with wings, trying to kick each other and maybe rolling around on the ground a bit. The worst I’ve ever seen from it is a bloody face.

  2. By the way – do you know why the gulls fight? Gulls bicker, squabble, chase and snap at each other constantly, but actual physical combat doesn’t seem to be a very common thing at all. I’ve only ever seen it happen about 3 times with my own eyes. Is it about females?

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