Displays of animals do not always elicit equivalent responses from other conspecifics. Considerable variation exists among the responses, but the mechanism causing the variety remains unclear. We investigated how Black-tailed Gulls Larus crassirostris respond to long-call displays of other individuals. Results show that the response varies depending on the context. Territorial birds often respond to the long-calls of non-territorial birds by attacking. However, non-territorial birds typically respond to the long-calls of territorial birds by avoiding them. Nevertheless, they usually respond to the long-calls of their partners by using the same long-call. These results are explained well by the motivational conflict hypothesis.
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