Self-grooming when grooming is inappropriate, or plucking at vegetation, as if foraging, but may not actually ingest any of the material. If the elephant does eat, it does so in a desultory or distracted fashion, may slap vegetation against foot or other part of own body and then drop it. May include throwing dust/grass/etc. onto self. Displacement-Behavior is typically given in conflict situations.
For example during a fight in which an individual shows incompatible tendencies, such as fleeing vs. fighting, young males near an estrous female who want to approach the female but are afraid of provoking aggression by the guarding male, by an elephant Waiting/Queuing-Up for access to a mud wallow or space at a felled tree who wants to Drink/Mud-Splash/Browse but is fearful of higher ranking elephants.
References: Kühme 1963; Eisenberg & Lockhart 1972; McKay 1973; Adams & Berg 1980; Douglas-Hamilton & Douglas-Hamilton 1992; Spinage 1994; Sukumar 1994; Kahl & Armstrong 2000; Eisenberg et al 1971; Estes 1991; Spinage 1994; Sukumar 1994; Daniel 1998. (Full reference list)
This behavioral constellation includes the following behaviors: Displacement-Feeding, Displacement-Grooming, Dusting, Foot-Lifting, Foot-Swinging, Scrape-Ground, Scratch-with-Trunk, Touch-Self, Trunk-Sucking and occurs in the following context(s): Ambivalent, Attentive, Conflict & Confrontation