Head-bobbing and non-bobbing walking of black-headed gulls (Larus ridibundus)

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00359-005-0083-4

Cite this article as:
Fujita, M. J Comp Physiol A (2006) 192: 481. doi:10.1007/s00359-005-0083-4


Head-bobbing walking (HBW) and non-bobbing walking (NBW) of black-headed gulls were compared from kinematic and behavioral/environmental viewpoints. The birds walked with a longer stride length and lower stride frequency during the HBW than during the NBW. With respect to these two parameters, the HBW of black-headed gulls was similar to that of other head-bobbers, and the NBW was similar to that of other non-bobbers. The stride length and the amplitude of head bobbing were correlated. These results suggest that the head-bobbing and gait parameters are related. From a behavioral viewpoint, HBW was observed during seeking-type foraging by wading, and NBW was observed during waiting-type foraging on a flat substrate. The type of foraging behavior and/or substrate condition probably determines whether the birds walk with or without head bobbing.


Black-headed gullsKinematic gait characteristicsHead-bobbingWalkingForaging behavior



Distal tarsometatarsus


Head-bobbing walking


Middle of the tarsometatarsus


Non-bobbing walking


Proximal tarsometatarsus

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Biodiversity Science, School of Agriculture and Life ScienceThe University of Tokyo Bunkyo-kuJapan