The body and extremities suddenly cease moving and the elephant Stands Head-Raising and Ear-Spreading with Ears-Stiff. The elephant may swing its head from side to side, Head-Swinging, as if to localise a sound. An individual rarely stands stock still except when Listening or Resting, usually some part of the body, ears, trunk, tail is in motion. Listening may be distinguished from Resting, during which an elephant relaxes it's head and ears allowing its head to hang below its shoulders and its ears to flop forward. All age/sex group may be observed Listening.

References: Heffner & Heffner 1982; Poole et al 1988; Langbauer et al. 1989; Poole & Moss 1989; McComb et al. 2003; Poole & Granli 2003; O’Connell-Rodwell et al 2006; Poole & Granli 2011. (Full reference list)

This behavioral constellation includes the following behaviors: Ear-Spreading, Ears-Stiff, Head-Raising, Head-Swinging, Standing and occurs in the following context(s): Advertisement & Attraction, Attentive, Vigilance


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (1)

Pascal is in full musth. He is standing in a waterhole Listening and Drinking. As the clip starts he is Listening, then he Ear-Waves and Musth-Rumbles and then reaches to Drink again. There is another musth male in the vicinity but they have not yet met. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (2)

Pascal is in full musth. He has been Listening and Musth-Rumbling in and beside a water hole. Now he has begun feeding. He keeps pausing in his feeding to Listen. In this clip he pauses to Listen, takes another trunkful and then walks forward Foot-Scuffing, Trunk-Tragging, and then Musth-Rumbles and Ear-Waves. We know, in retrospect, that he is about to meet musth male Emo and likely knows Emo is close by. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (3)

Pascal is in full musth. Esau and another musth male have just had a short fight. Esau won and chased the other male in a Prolonged-Pursuit right past where Pascal is standing Listening. He Listens and then begins to go in the direction they went, Tracking the group and sniffing the air with Periscope-Trunk. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (4)

There is an estrous female nearby who has just given an Estrous-Roar. Another musth male has gone to look for her while this second musth male is left Listening, perhaps trying to work out which direction may offer the best mating opportunity later. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (5)

Pascal is in full musth and is feeding on grass. A plane is passing overhead. He stops during his feeding to Listen. Then he begins to walk and Musth-Rumbles. This behavior of responding to low frequency sounds by Listening and Musth-Rumbling is typical of musth males. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (6)

Nastya is in estrus nearby. We are filming a male who is Drinking. Suddenly he stops, Ears-Stiff, Listening. He turns his head from one side to the other. We hear an Estrous-Running-Rumble followed by an Estrous-Roar. He immediately leaves Drinking and disappears from view heading in the direction of the commotion.

This is a good example showing that elephants differentiate between different call types. Note that he became aware of something several seconds before we heard the calls - likely he picked up the running footsteps. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (7)

X004 is in musth and is looking for receptive females. He is alternatively engaging in Musth-Walk, Musth-Rumble, Tusk-Ground and periods of Listening. In this clip he stops twice to Listen. We checked the spectrogram for distant calls that he may have heard but there were none that we could see.

We know from our previous published work that musth males spend much more time Listening than other elephants, and significantly more when they are alone and searching for females. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (8)

The clip starts with X004 in musth having paused to Urinate and Defecate. He Listens - looking for receptive females. He resumes walking east. After about 10 steps he stops and orients south and Listens. He turns west, appearing to Musth-Rumble and walks a few paces and Listens again. Then he turns and resumes his walk east.

We checked the spectrogram and found no sign of any elephants calling. Regular Listening is typical of lone musth males who are searching for receptive females. (Amboseli, Kenya)