Talk:Mobbing (animal behavior)

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(Requesting audio of a mobbing call (video would be great too, or more images)

Comments per request[edit]

Nice article, I've linked it from bird. The order/balance of the article is slightly off, you should start broadly and get narrower in focus. Mobbing in gulls as the first subsection is to narrow; start with mobbing in birds in general, then focus in on gulls as a good example. As the recipiant of much gull mobbing I appreciate the impression it leaves, but there is a great deal of interesting theoretical work on mobbing that I can hunt down for you if you want. Sabine's Sunbird talk 03:44, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

A nice article and much needed. Was looking out for a particular interpretation by Zahavi on mobbing as a way of showing fitness. Let me see if I can find the ref. Shyamal 03:58, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestion SS - I hadn't given the overall structure that much scrutiny, I just made it up as I went. I'll fish around for some more examples on birds to introduce the section. There could also be a lot more on the theoretical side as mentioned above. Does Zahavi (1995) Altruism as a Handicap: The Limitations of Kin Selection and Reciprocity Journal of Avian Biology sound like the right one?
I am not sure about the particular reference at this moment, but there are many mentions of the interpretation including in this book review. The mobber by taking the risk shows (his mostly) fitness. But that is just one among several possible interpretations. [1][2] Shyamal 04:22, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
Here is a paper about mobbing in Noisy Miner birds. In addition to the original information in the article, there are about four Zahavi references at the end, any or all of which probably discuss his ideas on the subject. Sheep81 00:59, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
(copied from the WP:TOL talk page)
I like the article a lot. Always have been fascinated to watch animals chase off their predators. I don't have a lot of problems with the article at all. I notice that it seems to focus a lot on gulls, which seems strange since many other types of animals do this as well. Maybe instead of dividing it up into "gulls" and "other animals" you can make sections like "mammals", "birds", and "fish" instead.
A few other examples you might mention among larger animals: dolphins mobbing sharks, gaur and African buffalo mobbing lions big cats. There is actually a fantastic video on YouTube right now (at the risk of advertising, it's here) showing the cooperative defense of a calf by African buffalo. This kind of behavior is pretty well-documented, I'm sure you can find references. And of course crows themselves both get mobbed by smaller birds and themselves mob larger birds like hawks. I wonder if you could even go so far as to talk about insects like bees and fire ants, which often attack predators together when defending a nest. I believe there is even a pheromone that they put out to attract conspecifics to the defense, kind of like the bird calls you mentioned, right? Just some thoughts. Great article! Sheep81 00:00, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Fire ants would be an excellent species to highlight, they aggressively attack any threat, real or imagined. Another good species would be killer bees. I can confirm the pheremone comunication for both as an ameture entomologist, but a citatition is still needed. On an interesting side note, the bee attack pheremone is the same chemical that is used to flavor pear and banana bubble gum.(learned that in organic chemistry, chemical engineering major)--Scorpion451 17:38, 16 June 2007 (UTC)


I put this under Category:Birds - is that a good idea, or is it too general? The birds template doesn't have to go of course if the category is removed, but given it's only more common in birds, I'm not too sure that it was the right move. Richard001 09:01, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

I don't think it goes in birds because the behaviour is seen in more than just birds, it is simply more familiar and more well studied among birds. I would like to see something about crows, a bird well-studied for mobbing behaviour. Someone please check context and appropriateness of last two edit I reverted. Good article, very well done, everyone. Good idea, Richard. KP Botany 14:49, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestion. I was asleep while this was DYK but the removal of two sentences related to evolution by an anon seems like either vandalism or bible belt POV pushing. Richard001 07:49, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Game theory connections[edit]

Noticed that there was no mention of game theory in the page, so I added a section and put game theory into the category list. The connections between game theory and mobbing are deep, so it really warrents the category link IMO. See what ya'll think.--scorpion451 17:26, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Agree that this needs to be mentioned in the sense of Evolutionarily stable strategies. But the new material may need to be trimmed to remove what seems like the basic evolution of altruism with selfishness rather than specifically mobbing. Shyamal 02:06, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I removed the section on humans - it had nothing to do with mobbing predators, which is what mobbing behavior is. Mobbing rivals or cooperating to enhance the chances of finding a partner are not mobbing - chimps form groups and attack each other, and males of some species such as various cetaceans form groups to cooperatively rape females, but it's not classed as mobbing behavior. Richard001 08:18, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Agree, also removed the redundant subsection. It needs a rewrite. Shyamal 08:22, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I am not against the rewrites on my addition, think they look good (still need some cleaning up though), but the human behavior part does deserve at least a mention. The part that is most exemplary of mobbing is the wistleblower situation, found an article online specifically referencing that as mobbing behavior, in the "group vs single threat" sense. Perhaps a blurb in the "other animals" section? On the renamed "evolution" section I know I tend to get a little verbose, but the current rewrite seems a little too technical, may need some clarification, elaboration. My intent with the evolution of altruism through self-interest was to highlight the dynamic nature behind the (birds, people, fish, ect.)'s behavior.(ie. what is the evolution behind what would seem a suicidal act by an individual(attacking a larger predator) becoming a benifit when performed in a group.)--Scorpion451 22:41, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I just found some related articles which also need a little more work - Herd behaviour and Flocking (behaviour). The second is something that currently purely about theoretical matters ! Shyamal 01:58, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
thanks for adding the dilution effect, spent twnety minutes trying to find it under marginal risk in economic section. >_< --Scorpion451 02:01, 18 June 2007 (UTC)


According to the lead paragraph "mobbing" is, as you would expect, carried out by groups of animals. However, when I challenged another editor who used the term for an attack by a single bird he/she gave me these examples: [3], [4], [5], [6], [7] which suggest that this definition is incomplete. In fact, there is a picture in this article of a single crow mobbing a bald eagle. Any thoughts? Richerman (talk) 00:40, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

I agree that solitary individuals can take part in it. "Mobbing" involves recruitment and it often begins with solitary individuals indulging in it. In the case of predator harassment by corvids near their nests, I think "mobbing" is particularly limited to the behaviour of an individual or pair. Shyamal (talk) 02:00, 29 June 2010 (UTC)