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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Bat Hawk: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

Bat hawk facts are loved by kids.

Do you find ferocious birds or birds of prey intriguing? Then these facts about the bat hawk found in Africa (Macheiramphus alcinus) will be right up your alley. Want to know what makes them so interesting?

For starters, they are only found in a limited range on earth as they are native to Sub-Saharan Africa. They can also be found in Madagascar in southern Africa. Apart from their range in Africa, they are also residents of New Guinea and Malaysia. These birds of such a limited range get their name from their food. They are mainly dependent on bats for their daily source of food. One of the distinct features of these birds that eat bats is their wings. Each wing is long and covered with brown plumage. The rest of their body is also covered in a dense, dark blackish-brown plumage, with the only exceptions being their chest, throat, and the region surrounding their eyes. However, a black streak runs across the middle of their slender body. Their feet are of a grayish-purple color.

Keep reading to know more about their appearance and behavior of this bird found in Africa. For more similar content, check out the Harris's hawk and white hawk.

Bat Hawk Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a bat hawk?

The bat hawk (Macheiramphus alcinus) is a kind of hawk bird.

What class of animal does a bat hawk belong to?

The bat hawk (Macheiramphus alcinus) belongs to the class Aves.

How many bat hawks are there in the world?

The current global estimate of the population of bat hawks stands at 1000-10,000 birds. Among these, 670-6700 are considered to be adult birds who have matured.

Where does a bat hawk live?

The bat hawk (Macheiramphus alcinus) has a very limited geographic range in Africa and Asia. In Asia, these birds are found in the southern part, specifically in Malaysia. These birds are also native to New Guinea. The bat hawk can also be spotted in Africa in the Sub-Saharan region.

What is a bat hawk's habitat?

The bat hawk is a resident of forests and can be found in tropical forests that are dense. Additionally, they are also found in deciduous and evergreen forests. These birds inhabit woodlands, as well as grasslands and savanna. The bat hawk is also a resident of bushes and plains in semi-arid regions. Wetlands and open space provide an ideal habitat for these birds to hunt their prey.

Who do bat hawks live with?

The bat hawk is usually a solitary bird with the only exception being during the breeding season when they pair up.

How long does a bat hawk live?

The lifespan of a bat hawk is not known. Most birds of the family Accipitridae are known to live for about a year or two. However, the longest living bird of this family was alive for 38 years.

How do they reproduce?

The male bat hawk displays an act of courtship in order to attract the female. In this display, the male includes a stunt-filled flight, touching of the feet, and also rolls over quickly. The male then sits near the female that he tries to attract. Once a pair forms, the male and the female parents go on to build a nest with plants and twigs. Bat hawks reuse their nest for multiple breeding seasons. The female usually lays just one egg in this nest. The season in which eggs are laid differs from one place to another. In Madagascar, South Africa, eggs are laid in the month of December. It is generally the female who incubates the eggs. The male takes turns only when the female is not near and is out to scavenge for food. It takes about 42-48 days for the parents to incubate the eggs.

What is their conservation status?

As per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the bat hawk is a species of Least Concern. There is no threat to their population as of now since they are not that rare.

Bat Hawk Fun Facts

What do bat hawks look like?

The bat hawk is one of the more slender, medium-sized birds out there. They are known for their long wings and these make them look like falcons while they are flying. Each wing is long and covered with brown plumage. Most of the plumage of adults or breeding birds is dark blackish-brown in color. They have a white patch near their eye and it may look like a white streak underneath and above their eyes in some bat hawks. There are also white patches on their chest region as well as on their throat. A black line runs down the throat along the length of their body. On the other hand, their feet are of a grayish-purple color. Young birds that are not yet of breeding age are mostly mottled brown in color. Non-breeding birds have much whiter feathers than the breeding adults.

Bat hawks are quick in their flight.

How cute are they?

These birds are not cute as they have a ferocious look as they are birds of prey. However, if you spot one of these birds in flight, they are very majestic.

How do they communicate?

This is a bird that communicates mainly through sound, touch, and sight. Like any other bird, the bat hawk can also perceive their surroundings with the help of chemical signals. This bird usually does not produce much sound. Their calls sound like 'kek-kek-kek.' that is a feeble chatter-like sound. Their high-pitched calls sound like 'kwik-kwik-kwik-kwik'. The females have a shriller call. In New Guinea, the bat hawk call sounds like 'kee-kee-kee-kee-kee'.  

How big is a bat hawk?

This bird from Sub-Saharan Africa or South Africa can grow up to a length of 17 in (45 cm). They can be about three times the size of barn swallows.

How fast can a bat hawk move?

The exact speed at which this species flies is not known. However, they are known to be fast fliers as they catch prey while in flight.

How much does a bat hawk weigh?

This bird species weighs 21-23 oz (600-650 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male bird is called a cock, while the female bird is called a hen.

What would you call a baby bat hawk?

The baby bird is called a chick.

What do they eat?

The name of this bird is inspired by their diet as bats that are small and insectivorous are the staple diet of this species. They mainly prey on young and adult bats. A bat hawk hunts and consumes 11 bats within a time span of 18 minutes. Some small birds also form the prey of this species. Such birds include swallows and swifts, and they also prey on swiftlets. Swiftlets are young swifts. Other than this diet, the bat hawk hunts insects. Insects that fall under their diet include nightjars and other large insects.

Are they dangerous?

Although they are not usually dangerous for humans, they can often pose a threat to small animals since they are birds of prey.

Would they make a good pet?

There is no evidence that shows a bat hawk is a good pet. However, people often keep hawks as pets. They must be handled with utmost care and skill.

Did you know...

The scientific name, Macheiramphus alcinus, is derived from Greek words. The word 'Macheiramphus' comes from two Greek words 'makhaira', meaning 'knife' and 'rhamphos', meaning 'bill' . The second half of their scientific name, 'alcinus', denotes a resemblance to an auk. Auk is a bird of the genus Alca. This resemblance is also a reference to the thin beak of a bat hawk.

What are the different types of hawk?

There are as many as 200 species of hawk across the globe. Among them, 25 are residents of the United States of America. Some of the well-known hawks are the broad-winged hawk, Harris hawk, red-shouldered hawk, red-tailed hawk, and Cooper's hawk.

What is a bat hawk's wingspan?

The bat hawk wingspan extends across 3-4 ft (1-1.3 m).

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our limpkin facts and common snipe facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable bat hawk coloring pages.

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