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)