Why White-Tailed Deer Flag Their Tails

@article{Bildstein1983WhyWD,
  title={Why White-Tailed Deer Flag Their Tails},
  author={Keith L. Bildstein},
  journal={The American Naturalist},
  year={1983},
  volume={121},
  pages={709 - 715}
}
  • K. Bildstein
  • Published 1 May 1983
  • Biology
  • The American Naturalist
I tested four previously published hypotheses that have been used to explain the function of tail flagging in white-tailed deer by comparing the behavior of deer during the approach of a person on foot to that expected under each of the hypotheses. Deer tend to tail flag toward an approaching person and, when they have the opportunity to do so, do not flag toward conspecifics only. Both single deer and deer in groups flag their tails. Deer are more likely to tail flag when they flee at safe… Expand
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It is suggested that tail flagging in white-tailed deer, and the ungulate rump-patch phenomenon in general, serves as a socially cohesive signal that helps to keep individuals in groups for antipredator benefits. Expand
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