An aggressor lowers the head by bowing the neck downward and simultaneously tilting the head upward so that the tusks are approximately horizontal and Charges. The Bow-Neck-Charge may be associated with Ear-Slapping and/or Ear-Folding. This posture is typically held at a fast walk or, in this case, during a Charge, especially when the receiver of the charge is of smaller stature than the aggressor. In a sense the aggressor brings head/tusks down to the victim's level. It is one of the more common forms of high-level aggression between females of different families or toward young, pesky non-family males and may be seen as a component of a Coalition. It may also be directed at non-elephant threats. It is adopted primarily by adult females in Aggressive or Mobbing & Attacking contexts and by elephants of all age/sex groups in Social Play contexts. It is reminiscent of the ‘Forward Threat Display’ of geese.

References: Kahl & Armstrong, 2000; Poole & Granli 2011 [Bow-Neck]. (Full reference list)

This behavioral constellation includes the following behaviors: Bow-Neck, Ear-Folding, Ear-Slap, Trumpet-Blast, Trunk-Bounce, Trunk-Bounce-Drag and occurs in the following context(s): Aggressive, Attacking & Mobbing, Social Play


Context: Social Play (1)

Males and females, adolescents and adults, are playing in the bushes along a lugga. As the clip starts an adolescent female comes up the bank into view. She moves past the car in a Floppy-Run, emitting Pulsated-Play-Trumpets, crashing through the bushes, kicking vegetation with her feet (Bush-Bashing). Her eyes are wide (Eyes-Wide) and she is Tail-Raising. She adopts a floppy Bow-Neck-Charge with head down and out-stretched as she makes a dash past the car and back into the bushes. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Social Play (2)

As an adolescent male Floppy-Runs at the car he lowers his head adopting a floppy-bodied Bow-Neck-Charge (with head lowered and outstretched) position and shakes his head from side to side Head-Waggling. As he charges he Play-Trumpets. One of the filmmakers is concerned that this is a real charge so there is a lot of talking. As he runs he Tail-Raises in excitement and as he stops he Kicks-Dust. As he departs he swings his back legs out as if to kick vegetation, but misses. Then he Floppy-Run off in another direction. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Attacking & Mobbing (1)

Matriarch gf0073 and her family are in the forest as we drive up. This is the first time we have seen this family and they are very agitated, Bunching and Standing-Tall.

The original footage contains a long sequence of very interesting behavior that leads to the point where the clips starts when gf0073 enters the scene from the right doing a Perpendicular-Walk and we hear a rumble. She takes 12 perpendicular steps before she turns and begins a silent Bow-Neck-Charge - She exhibits Trunk-Drag-Bounce as she comes closer. She runs 10 paces toward us in the Bow-Neck posture. She Sashays as she reach within a couple meters of the car. The quality of the video and audio is not great as she almost hits the vehicle. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Attacking & Mobbing (2)

The AA are walking along the edge of Enkongo Narok Swamp to where they plan to make a crossing. As they stop at the bank one of the allomothers who has been helping Angelina look after her infant twins spots a fish eagle on the ground. Perhaps to defend the twins she chases it away with a Bow-Neck-Charge. (Amboseli, Kenya)