A single slight dipping and raising movement of the head with Ears-Spread, typically combined with reaching to Touch-Ground with the trunk. This display is observed in all age/sex groups is typically seen when an elephant is confronting a threat or during social play. In a more pronounced version that Douglas-Hamilton 1972 called a Head-Jerk or Head-Toss the head is first lowered and then pulled up sharply so that the tusks describe a wide arc and the elephant Stands-Tall. This display is often observed as elephants crash through bushes to make a dramatic display to an adversary or predator. It is observed in all age/sex groups and often seen during play when Bush-Bashing.

References: Kühme 1961; Kühme 1963; Douglas-Hamilton 1972 ch 6; Estes 1991; Douglas-Hamilton & Douglas-Hamilton 1992; Ben-Shahar 1999; O’Connell-Rodwell et al 2011 [ [Head-Jerk, Head-Toss, Head Thrust]. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Conflict & Confrontation, Social Play


Context: Conflict & Confrontation (1)

Big Mama's family is standing resting next to the film car. Merilyn (f0313) is standing facing the car relaxed. Then it seems as if someone may have made a sound or a movement in the vehicle that concerned her. We see her raise her head slightly and spread her ears (Ear-Spreading) and dip her head (Head-Dip) as she takes a step backward. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)