Aepyceros melampus showing honest/informative display photo © Yathin sk

Confusing versus clarifying flight-displays in impalas

Impalas are unique among hoofed mammals in using two different forms of display while fleeing – the first confuses the predator and the second informs it. When initially alarmed, impalas bound high into the air across each other, hindering the targeting of any individual by any predator. Once pursued, however, the individual switches to an honest form of display peculiar to impalas, in which the hindquarters are flipped vertically and the neck bends in an extreme manner to prevent somersaulting as the animal lands on its fore feet. This stotting gait is proof of fitness, informing the predator to switch target to a weaker individual.

Robin and the Honey Badger, 23 August 2016

Confusing/Deceptive display:
Aepyceros melampus
Informative/Honest display:
Aepyceros melampus