Why do Birds Fight? (With Amazing Reasons )

I own many pet birds that often fight aggressively within them for unknown reasons, even though food, nests, etc. are equally given to them, Later I found the reasons for bird fight.

Birds fight for food, territory or space, to protect eggs, chicks, and nest from a predator and male birds fight against each other male birds for a female mate and also to express dominance. Fight reasons include scarcity of food, territory violence, competition for mating, even feather colors, size and patterns can induce fight within males.

Let’s know these fighting reasons with examples and causes.

What Are The Reasons For Bird Fighting?

Fighting reason can be anything such as fighting for food in a time of food scarcity, fighting in between males for competition for a mate, fighting to show their superiority, dominance against other males, fighting to avoid the entry of other birds in their territory, fighting against threats like predator such as snake, cats, predator birds and fight for survival, etc.

The scarcity of food can also induce fight, birds become more territorial and won’t hesitate to fight other birds that threaten their food supply.  Sometimes birds went so crazy, as cardinals and robins attack their own reflections in the windows.

The fight can occur for a mate, Birds fight to show their dominance over other birds or to win the affection of a potential mate. Competition for mating can induce a fight. During the competition between males, they enter into fighting to show dominance to females he hopes to impress and to mate them finally.

For example, The Male house sparrows Within flocks, fight each other because of bibs present on their chest. The larger the bib is, the more dominant the bird will be. Birds with similar bibs tend to fight each other. Male sparrows are well known for fighting to show their dominance.

Do Birds Fight to the Death?

Yes, The Male sparrows are capable of fighting to the death. However, before attempting to fight, they often flap their wings wildly.

Fighting can be for territorial reasons, birds have different needs for territory and individual space, but when a bird’s space is invaded or disrupted, they can become very angry.  Birds express anger to protect their territory by keeping other birds away.

Birds are territorial for a particular feeding area, When a predator bird or non-predatory bird enters into their territories(say sea area) which is used for feeding, the bird attacks the non-territorial bird(say terrestrial) to ward off from their territory(sea area) to protect their food during food scarcity.

Birds are territorial for a nesting location, Even when plenty of food is available some birds protect their territory because here in this territory they have their nest with eggs or chicks, Irrespective of intruder birds nature(whether it is predator or non- predator).

The fight can occur during flight, When predator big birds approach near smaller birds nest or circle around it, the smaller birds try to drive the bigger bird out of their territory which leads to fighting between them. this behavior of small birds attacking a larger predator is called “mobbing.” During mobbing, smaller birds can ring around bigger birds. Though it doesn’t always end well, because smaller will be caught by bigger birds in most cases.

Birds like mockingbirds, red-winged blackbirds, and common grackles mob these big birds like a hawk during the breeding season. But, a more experienced large bird during flight can show barrel rolls to flash their talons at smaller birds or to get them off their backs. For instance, let’s understand with kingbirds. 

When predator birds try to prey on kingbirds eggs and nestling, kingbirds attack and fight back against hawks, crows, blue jays, American kestrels, and blue jays. Especially during the breeding season, these kingbirds birds defend territories and will not allow other birds to enter their territory. 

In worst situations they will dive at a threat with their crest raised, exposing the red crown feathers, and with the mouth wide open, exposing their bright red mouth lining and even snap their bills at threats as well and make whirring sounds with their wings. 

Fighting can be against predators, When a bird sees its predators it can attack and fight the predators to protect themselves and also try to protect eggs and nest. For example, The mockingbirds despite their small size, have been known to confront anything they see as a predator, including hawks, cats, dogs, and even people.

The approach of a predator into a bird’s territory, whether it is near a nest, a favorite feeding space, or near the bird in any area can trigger an angry reaction. Becoming angry at a predator’s intrusion can cause the bird to chase the predator away, whether it is a bird of prey, mammal, reptile, or even a human.

The cockfight is a bird sport where birds fight for human entertainment, Roosters are specially bred and prepared for fighting, and the legs of the cock are tied with knives and blades during the fight. That results in one of the birds (rooster) being killed. However, in most nations, cockfighting is not a legal bird sport, although these fights are guided and trained by humans for entertainment.

How a Bird shows its Anger and Emotion?

Angry birds show its anger by screeching, pecking at other birds, plucking feathers of others, beak locking, spreading its wing to make itself appear as large, producing noises, and even by harming other birds.

An angry bird shows different color patches present on its wing opened to warn intruders as they are being irritated by them. Sometimes without engaging in fights, birds can ward-off the intruder by flashing wings and tails with different combinations of colors. 

A bird’s posture can also state its emotion and aggressiveness, by spreading its wings or flicking its tail making itself appear larger and more threatening to fright the predators or intruders. Many birds before entering into a fight can produce different noises, bill clacks, and sounds with high pitch, sharper notes to show their anger until the intruder getaway.

Angry birds fight during flight by pecking on each other’s wings causing damage to feathers. Birds fight each other by snapping, chest-puffing, beak locking.

How do Gulls show Angry?

If a gull has something, the other one will fight by flapping its wings, Screeching, Snapping, Chest-puffing, beak locking, trying to get it irrespective of whether it is food or other materials and sometimes they even fight for a place. Usually the older gulls always the one which starts the fight and harms the young by plucking its feathers and even the beak.

Birds that can Fight Aggressively are as Follows : American coot, American crow, Great horned owl, Mute swan, Northern goshawk, Northern mockingbird, Pine siskin, Ruby-crowned kinglet, Rufous hummingbird, Southern cassowary, and Wild turkey are the birds that can fight aggressively.

Why Do Birds become Aggressive?

Birds become aggressive when they feel unsafe for themselves or to their nests, eggs, and chicks or when they pretend the humans or other animals as predators when they approach their territory, usually breeding colonies or simply nests.

In the time of scarcity of food the chances of aggressiveness in birds is more than usual cand can lead to fight to death. Territorial invasion or simply entry can cause aggression in birds. Fight between the same kind of species, Fight between different kinds of species.

For example, fighting between different kinds of species is in Ruby-throated Hummingbird birds that are not afraid to attack hawks and crows. Even if you get too close to these bird’s nests, you may be seen as a predator. 

In most cases, It seems to be a fight but it is not a fight:

  • The fighting tended to be of the posing and chasing off variety rather than actual violence. 
  • In the evening hundreds of birds return to the nest in a tree where the noise is incredible they seem to be fighting But they are squabbling for the best perching positions.

What Does It Mean When You See Two Birds Fighting?

If they are fighting aggressively they are fighting for basic needs like food, space and including competition for mates. In most cases the male and female birds play and mate that seems to be fighting and actually they are not. 

Sometimes siblings too chase to play and it may not be so violent. However, males can fight in the competition towards the few available female birds for mate. The other reason can be food scarcity, territorial invasion and much more.

Read More : Eagle Vs Hawk ?

Why Do Birds Kill Each Other?

There are many reasons birds kill each other. For example siblicide is an act where eaglets that are eagle chicks kill other eaglets when food supply by parent eagles are not sufficient, or delayed in food supply. 

When there is a threat to the bird itself or to its chick by the same kind of birds in breeding colonies leading to fight within them and also fight can occur for nesting materials unavailability. 

Pigeons kill other pigeon members in their own flocks because if it is a sick pigeon it will attract the predators finally bringing threat to whole flock members of the pigeon, so the healthy and normal birds usually kill the unhealthy, weak, sick and even the odd, abnormal looking birds.

Which Bird is the Most Aggressive? The cassowary is considered the most unsafe bird in the world, besides ostriches and emus, compared. Since their attacks will still do more injury than other birds do.