Raising and tentatively swinging a foreleg, intermittently. Swinging of a hind-foot may also be observed although this is less common than a forefoot. Individuals in all age sex groups may engage in Foot-Swinging in Submissive, Ambivalent and Conflict & Confrontation contexts when unsure of what action to take, as in Displacement-Behavior. Likewise, all age sex groups may engage in Foot-Swinging in Attentive and Vigilance contexts as seen during Freezing behavior, when elephants may be feeling for or picking up seismic vibrations. In a Movement Space and Leadership context Foot-Swinging is observed among adult females as a signal of intention - i.e. an Intention-Movement - for example, as a component of the Let’s-Go-Stance. In the latter swinging of the hind foot is not observed.
References: Douglas-Hamilton 1972: ch 6; Moss 1988; Poole 1999a; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2011. (Full reference list)
This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Ambivalent, Attentive, Conflict & Confrontation, Movement, Space & Leadership, Vigilance