Animal Species:Black Flying-fox

Black Flying-foxes are the largest species of flying-fox in Australia. They can fly at 35 - 40 kilometres per hour and may travel over 50 kilometres from their camp to a feeding area. They often share their camps with other flying-fox species.

Black Flying-fox

GB Baker  © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Black Flying-fox

Identification

Short black fur, but can sometimes also have a reddish-brown or yellow-brown collar. Its belly fur can have a frosted appearance if the fur is flecked with grey tips. The lower legs of this bat are unfurred and faint red-brown eye rings may be present. It is quite a large flying-fox with weights ranging from 500 – 1000 g. Forearm length up to 19 cm.

Distribution

Northern and eastern Australia.

Habitat

Tropical and subtropical forests, and in woodlands. Forming camps in mangrove islands in river estuaries, paperbark forests, eucalypt forests and rainforests.

Seasonality

The Black Flying-fox is a migratory species that roosts in large numbers high in the tree canopy during the day.

Feeding and Diet

At dusk, individuals fly out to feed on blossom and fruits, and return to their roost at dawn.

Mating and reproduction

Mating occurs in March to April when large males establish a territory on a branch. Females become pregnant before the bats disperse into generally smaller camps for the winter. They re-congregate into large camps during spring and summer, when birthing occurs. Females give birth to one offspring annually around late September to December. Young are completely dependent for up to 4 weeks, at which point they will be left at the camp at night while their mothers forage. At 2-3 months, the young can fly and they will start to leave the camp at night to feed. They are weaned at about 5 months, and become sexually mature at about 2 years old (but most females will not reproduce before 3).

Economic/social impacts

Black Flying-foxes are vulnerable to loss of feeding areas from clearing of native vegetation and land degradation from agriculture.

Danger to humans and first aid

Yes, carriers of infectious diseases: Lyssa and Hendra viruses. A bite or scratch from an affected bat can be fatal.

Classification

Species:
alecto
Genus:
Pteropus
Family:
Pteropodidae
Order:
Chiroptera
Subclass:
Eutheria
Class:
Mammalia
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?


Dr Anja Divljan , Technical Officer
Last Updated:

Tags bats, mammals, flying, vertebrates, eutherians, placentals, identification, bats in Australia, flight,