About the Bat Falcon
The Bat Falcon (Falco rufigularis) is a small, colorful falcon that lives at the edge of rainforests. Guests of the Rainforest Expeditions eco-lodges see Bat Falcon most commonly along the meandering, coffee-colored Tambopata River. It sometimes reveals its presence with a rapid series of notes similar to the sounds of the American Kestrel. More often, guides and guests notice it perched atop a tall snag at the river’s edge.
Bat Falcons prefer to spend their time at the edges of rivers to catch unwary birds and bats that happen to fly across the waterway. The unobstructed view and flying space favors the falcon and keeps many birds from flying across the river. For this reason, small birds adapted to the forest understory rarely fly across a waterway as wide as the Tambopata. Therefore, populations of the same species residing in the forests on opposite banks are practically isolated. Birds with rapid flight such as parakeets and swifts don’t hesitate. They just fly across rivers. However, they fly in flocks because Bat Falcons love to eat them!
How to identify a Bat Falcon
- How to separate it from the Orange-breasted Falcon: The Bat Falcon has a larger, rarer cousin in Tambopata. They look very similar but Orange-breasted falcons can be recognized by the orange color on the chest. In addition, they have coarse orange and black markings on the breast.
- Notched bill: Many falcon species have a distinct notch on their bill. This “tooth” is an adaptation for cutting the neck vertebrae of their prey.
To learn to identify falcons download our illustrated plates and our photographic guide to Amazon Jungle Animals.
Some interesting facts about the Bat Falcon:
- Named after a prey item: The Bat Falcon gets its name from its ability to catch bats. It regularly takes bats at dawn and dusk.
- A hood to shade its eyes: Like many species of falcons, the Bat Falcon has a pattern on its head that somewhat resembles a hood. This pattern helps to shade its eyes from the glare of the sun. It is very similar to the reason why baseball players use black markings under their eyes.
- Long wings for fast flight: The long, pointed wings of Bat Falcons are an adaptation for swift flight that helps them snatch fast flying birds and bats out of the air.
How to plan your jungle trip to see Bat Falcon and other jungle Wildlife
- Watch the treetops along the river: Guests of the Rainforest Expeditions eco-lodges have a fair chance of spotting one or more of these small birds of prey if they keep an eye on the tops of snags found at the river’s edge.
- Scan for them from the canopy towers: Bat Falcons are also sometimes seen from canopy towers at Posada Amazonas. Scanning dead snags and treetops with a telescope sometimes reveals a Bat Falcon or two. To practice, download our Amazon jungle Animals identification guide, including the beautiful illustrated plate of Amazon mammals.
- Sign up for a Free Trial of the Amazoncam: even if jungle travel is not in your short-term plans you can connect with jungle wildlife. Sign-up for your free trial of the Wired Amazon and help us identify the jungle wildlife that is on photos from our 20 square kilometer grid of 78 cameras snapping away in the middle of the Amazon jungle.
- And of course, if you´re thinking (or even dreaming) of Amazon jungle Travel, drop by to chat with the Amazon Travel experts. We will help you get there.