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Broken Wing Display


Distraction display; Injury-feigning behavior


The broken wing display is a feigning behavior that some ground-nesting birds perform to lure a potential predator away from the bird’s nest or chicks (Armstrong 1949a). The deception consists of pretending that the bird has a broken wing that hinders flight. If the predator is deceived and chases the bird, it will move away from the nest or chicks (Ristau 1991), thereby considerably reducing the probability of finding them. Finally, when the predator has been lured away from the nest, the bird puts an end to its distraction display and escapes.


Some ground-nesting birds employ distraction displays as part of their antipredator strategies because they nest in sites easily accessible to a wide range of predators. The aim of these behaviors is to divert predator attention away from offspring, by drawing their attention towards false nests or an easy prey (Gochfeld 1984; Sordahl 1986; Byrkjedal 1989; Caro 2005)....

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Correspondence to Miguel Angel Gómez-Serrano .

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Gómez-Serrano, M. (2018). Broken Wing Display. In: Vonk, J., Shackelford, T. (eds) Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. Springer, Cham.

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    Broken Wing Display
    12 January 2018


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    Broken Wing Display
    09 December 2017