Flying Fox
Sounds & Calls

Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii)

Grey-headed Flying Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) painting by John Gould

Flying foxes (also known as fruit bats) are megabats in the family Pteropodidae and include some of the largest bat species in the world. The name flying fox is most often given to species in the genera Acerodon and Pteropus. Found throughout much of tropical Asia, as well as northern and eastern Australia there are about 65 species currently recognized worldwide, with four species in mainland Australia – the Grey-headed Flying Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus), Black Flying Fox (Pteropus alecto), Spectacled Flying Fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) and the Little Red Flying Fox (Pteropus scapulatus) .

During the day, flying foxes roost in large, sometimes noisy colonies. As night approaches they disperse to feed on fruiting or flowering trees, often hundreds of them can be seen as silhouettes in the dusk sky as they fly out from their day roosts.

The sounds made by flying foxes generally consist of squealing, shrieking and cackling calls as they squabble at a feeding tree. In flight, their large, leathery wings make a distinctive heavy, flapping sound.

Listen to Flying Fox Sounds

MX315 The following video contains a variety of calls from Little Red Flying Foxes (Pteropus scapulatus). Recorded at night in open woodland with many flowering eucalyptus trees in Oyala Thumotang National Park, Cape York, Australia.


Grey-headed Flying Fox – Colony Squabbling

 MX033 The sounds of a Grey-headed Flying Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) colony squabbling along with the wingflaps of a few individuals flying around. Recorded in Kiama, NSW, Australia.


Black Flying Fox – Typical shrieking calls

 B04H This next audio recording features a typical shrieking call and heavy wingbeats of a Black Flying Fox (Pteropus alecto). Recorded in Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory, Australia.

Grey-headed Flying Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) feeding on nectar
Photo Credit: Andrew Mercer License: CC BY-SA 4.0