Albie 101: the bill duel

The more I observe these birds, the more I see how many different types of social interactions they have.  One is what I note as a bill duel.   It usually involves two birds who do not know each other very well; at least they are two that I have not recorded interacting one on one.  There are different types of duels, but they all involve two albatrosses tapping bills.  Sometimes it is gentle, sometimes it is more energetic and loud.

There is often an aggressive edge to the duels.  It reminds me of an activity I used to record sometimes for juvenile and adult chimpanzees.  They would start out playing, then there was a palpable tension in the air and suddenly they were fighting.

Sometimes it really looks like a sword fight.  But in the interaction below, the birds grab at each other in between tapping bills, a variation less common than simple bill contact. It would be interesting to see what types of interactions the participants have in the future, and that is the type of thing I plan to look at when all of my data is put into a relational database and I can examine social interactions through the years.

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