|Bat hawk at Cape Vidal, Northern Natal, South Africa|
The bat hawk (Macheiramphus alcinus) is a raptor found in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia to New Guinea. It is named for its diet, which consists mainly of bats. It requires open space in which to hunt, but will live anywhere from dense rainforest to semi-arid veld.
The bat hawk is a slender, medium-sized bird of prey, usually about 45 cm long. It has long wings and a falconine silhouette. Adults are dark brown or black, with a white patch on the throat and chest, and have a white streak above and below each eye. Juveniles are mottled brown and have more white plumage than adults.
Bats are the usual prey of the bat hawk, although they may eat small birds, such as swallows, swifts, and nightjars, or even insects. They hunt by chasing their prey at high speeds in flight. About 49% of their hunts are successful.
The bat hawk is crepuscular and hunts at dusk.
Courtship involves many aerial displays and stunts. The nest is built with sticks gathered in flight, and is about 90 cm across and 30 cm deep. The female is solely responsible for incubating her clutch. The male often shares food with her. About a month after incubation begins, the eggs hatch, and both parents help to feed their young. 30–45 days after hatching, the young fledge. They leave the nest soon after.
Bat hawks breed most years.
- BirdLife International (2013). "Macheiramphus alcinus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- H. L. Black, G. Howard, R. Stjernstedt. (1979). Observations on the Feeding Behavior of the Bat Hawk. Biotropica, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 18-21
- The Hawk Conservancy Trust (1996-2007). Bat Hawk. Retrieved April 16, 2007, from http://www.hawk-conservancy.org/priors/bathawk.shtml