The Weird World Of Bird Fighting

“Birds are not aggressive creatures, Miss. They bring beauty into the world.” —Mrs. Bundy, The Birds (1963)

In A Nutshell

It may seem odd to think of birds fighting for human amusement, but when you consider that these creatures evolved from the dinosaurs, their aggression doesn’t seem so far-fetched. From falconry to cockfighting, birds have proven some of the most vicious and efficient predators on the planet. And yet, some of the birds are little more intimidating than the robins that bob around on your front lawn.

The Whole Bushel

When one thinks of bird fighting, the first thing to spring to mind are cockfights. These battles between warrior roosters have been waged for thousands of years, and are popular throughout the world, especially in Latin and Asian nations. The birds are selectively bred for strength and aggression. Before the fight, they are often outfitted with a sharp metal spur on their legs which helps make things interesting. These spurs are fearsome weapons and have occasionally injured and even killed handlers before.

Another bloody pursuit men have taken up is falconry. While this is largely an activity of the past, it is still performed in parts of Kazakhstan and Mongolia, where they use massive golden eagles. The eagles soar through the sky and then plummet on their quarry, which can include fox, antelope, and deer. This bird, which can have a wingspan of nearly 2.5 meters (8 ft) and weighs over 9 kilograms (20 lbs), can be ferocious enough to take on a full-grown gray wolf.

Not all birds that fight have a fearsome reputation. In Afghanistan and around the Middle East, quail and partridge fighting are hugely popular. Before a partridge fight, the bird’s owner will take steps to desensitize it to pain, which can include giving it a small amount of opium or feeding it a scorpion with the stinger cut off. The arachnid will still have a tiny bit of poison in its system, enough to numb the bird. The partridge’s beak is sharpened and its nails cut. The fights can get pretty intense, but unlike cockfights, are rarely bloody. The birds are extremely valuable, and owners will halt the action if things get too dangerous.

Even stranger, police in Connecticut arrested 19 people in a fighting ring in 2009. Their birds of choice were saffron finches and canaries, the kind of seemingly harmless songbirds found in every pet store.

Show Me The Proof

Golden Eagle Hunting in Kazakhstan
These Quail Fight for Their Masters
LA Times: The Bird Men of Afghanistan
Experts: Shelton songbird fighting bizarre

  • Exiled Phoenix

    Reminds me of the cockfight on seinfeld! Been to a few myself when I hear about them. No real big deal, but some do get downright vicious…. Good ones anyway.

    • uglyskank

      No wonder the other birds exiled u, Phoenix

      • Exiled Phoenix

        lol!

    • WhiteExodus

      Cockfights……back in my hometown in the Philippines (I was born there BTW) there was large cockfight arena just outside of town and near my house. I’ve been to that Arena once……and I didn’t really enjoy it, all I was really concerned about was the fact these chickens weren’t being served on my breakfast plate!

      • Exiled Phoenix

        Lol, they’re illegal here in the U.S. I mainly liked the gambling… Vegas would’ve been the same to me.

        • WhiteExodus

          Funnily enough, the losers dead cock (the chicken, not the penis) usually got eaten by the winning cocks owner, so not only do you see your prized cock (again the chicken, not the penis)get eaten by your competitor, you’ll see all your money invested in the cock get fed to into the mouth of the winner. So when I asked the winner from the cockfight what the losers chicken tasted like he said, “tastes like chicken”.

          • Paynefully

            Now that kinda makes it worth it to get into. I bet them drumsticks are juicy

      • Hadeskabir

        So are you Filipino or NZ?

        • WhiteExodus

          I was born in the Philippines, but when I turned 9 me and my family moved to New Zealand due to the better education there. So I’m a Filipino who lives in New Zealand and has a New Zealand accent, in a way.

          • Hadeskabir

            And a very cool guy, might I add.

          • WhiteExodus

            Thank you, I’ll see ya later bro I have get to work for some spare Christmas money and spare funds for University lol.

          • Hadeskabir

            Ok, I hope you make a lot of money! Cya.

  • Phil_42

    I attended a cockfight in Bali this year… I was at first hesitant because I was worried that they had these fights purely for the benefit of we western (Australian) tourists. But was soon convinced that it was part of their culture so I went along and was surprised to find that I was the only western guy among over a thousand individuals. Although I was shocked at the violence of the entertainment, I would be lying if I said that it was not fun…. Not sure if that makes me a bad person, but there you go.

  • Sweet-Sativa

    Poor creatures. I think its jacked up. Dog and bird fighting is jacked. Pussy bastards want to see some violence? Start a boxing club and put your own damn self in the ring.

    • Jeff Maas

      Better yet, unarmed human against any animal (capable of harming said human) that is not drugged, hobbled, or tied up in any way.

      • Sweet-Sativa

        That would be crazy but without weapons most humans don’t stand a chance against most animal. I know personally a crazy llama could easily kill me in the ring let alone a tiger or something.

        • rais

          I won against an ant once. But then I was promptly attacked by two and had to run away.

  • Bird fights. Weird to those of us whose culture doesn’t participate historically, but every culture has something others find odd or unsettling or even disgusting. Who am I to judge?