Behavior

Flying foxes are most active in the evening and at night. They roost in trees by day, and many of the larger species do

An Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus) in flight. (Photo by Stephen Dalton/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

so in extremely large groups called "camps," which range in size from a few dozen individuals up to 250,000. When resting in the daylight hours, they hang from branches by one or both feet with wings wrapped around their bodies, though there is still sizable activity among the camp as the bats move from one spot to another. At dusk, when the time to forage arrives, Pteropus species will flap their wings until their bodies are parallel with the ground—only then do they release the branch and initiate flight.

Migration among flying foxes depends primarily on the seasonal availability of food sources. They do not migrate over particularly long distances, but instead travel between winter and summer roosts when fruits or blossoms are ready for the season. Mainland species will travel about 30 mi (50 km) to reach a new feeding site, and island groups may relocate to neighboring islands or to an accessible mainland area. Colonies will often use the same roosting sites year after year.

Flying fox vocalizations are in the range of 4-6 kHz. Vocalizations play an important role in feeding, mating, territorial disputes, and interaction with infants. In the case of the gray-headed flying fox (P. poliocephalus), at least 30 different kinds of calls have been documented.

A black flying fox (Pteropus alecto) roosts in tree. (Photo by Animals Animals ©Austin J. Stevens. Reproduced by permission.)

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