Animal Species:Common Bent-wing Bat

Dark brown or red-brown on the back, lighter underneath, high domed forehead, short muzzle, small rounded ears and long narrow wings.

A Common Bent-wing Bat

A Common Bent-wing Bat
Photographer: G.B. Baker/Nature Focus © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Common Bent-wing Bat


A medium-sized insectivorous bat with a high domed forehead, short muzzle, small rounded ears and long narrow wings. The fur is dark brown or red-brown on the back, becoming lighter underneath. The terminal segment of the third finger is at least three times longer than the previous one and folds under the wing. Three subspecies are broadly similar in appearance, but vary in colouration and size; they are smallest in the north and largest in the south.

Size range

Up to 6.5 cm


Northern and eastern Australia.


Rainforest, sclerophyll forest, woodlands, monsoon forest, open grasslands, mangroves and paperbark forest.

Feeding and Diet

Nocturnal and fast flying, preferring to roost in caves, rock crevices, overhangs, road culverts, old mines, bridges and other man-made structures. They feed on moths, beetles and other flying insects. In tropical areas they are active all year, but in the south they enter periods of torpor or hibernation during the colder months.

Mating and reproduction

Most of the population migrates to a limited number of large maternity roost sites in September to October and remain there over the spring and summer. A single young is born between October and January, the timing varying across subspecies/species. Females reach sexual maturity the year after they are born and may live for more than 22 years. Predators include owls, rats, cats and foxes. The Southern Bent-wing Bat is classed as Critically Endangered. Subspecies are currently being reviewed and could possibly become full species.

Danger to humans and first aid

Normally harmless, but it is best to avoid handling any bat because they may carry the potentially fatal Australian Bat Lissavirus (ABLV), which is transmitted through scratches or bites.



What does this mean?

Dr Sandy Ingleby , Collection Manager, Mammalogy
Last Updated:

Tags bats, placentals, eutherians, mammals, vertebrates, identification, wildlife of sydney,


beachball - 7.06 PM, 29 June 2009
Hello peppercorn pterodactyls are believed to have been nocturnal like bats have the same wing span and wing formation in so far as the common bentwing bat goes they are nocturnal as you already know they roost in caves feed at night using echolocation for navigating and feeding, therefore eyesight is not a great priority. Each species of bat has their own frequency range this is how scientists can distinguish one group from another.
peppercorn - 6.06 PM, 29 June 2009
Beach ball what you can write back to me in your own words of reply is how these winged mouses of nature evolved from the giant flying bird like reptiles pterodactyls.Also you can add in response why they have smaller eyes like mouse than their brothers the ghost bat.

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