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Notes On the Behavior of Some North American Gulls. Iii. Pairing Behavior

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This paper includes descriptions of the pair-formation and later pairing behavior of Franklin's Gull and the Ring-billed Gull ; and some notes on the pair-formation of the Laughing Gull, Bonaparte's Gull, and the american Herring Gull. The pairing of all these species is similar in many fundamental characters. Pair-formation begins with a selective response by unmated females to a series of hostile displays by unmated males. It is continued by a series of repeated mutual hostile performances between the sexes, gradually diminishing in strength. There are considerable differences in the form, frequency, and orientation of some of the homologous hostile displays used by different species during this phase. Sexual behavior, with its associated patterns, (many of which are still partly or completely hostile, but relatively weak), appears after the initial strong hostile reaction between the sexes has begun to decline. These sexual patterns and associated activities are almost identical in all gulls. The observed forms of pairing in the Laughing Gull and the Herring Gull were rather different from previously published descriptions of the process in these species; which would seem to indicate that some aspects of pairing (the social situation in which it occurs) may vary considerably within the same species.

Affiliations: 1: Dept. of Conservation, Cornell University


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