Miniopterus schreibersii Click to enlarge image
Bat, Common Bent-wing Image: G B Baker
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    schreibersii
    Genus
    Miniopterus
    Family
    Vespertilionidae
    Order
    Chiroptera
    Subclass
    Eutheria
    Class
    Mammalia
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    Up to 6.5 cm

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

Identification

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.

Habitat

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

Distribution

Northern and eastern Australia.

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.

Breeding behaviours

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

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.