Macheiramphus alcinus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae

Scientific Name: Macheiramphus alcinus Westermann, 1851
Common Name(s):
English Bat Hawk
French Faucon des chauves-souris
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Symes, A.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
Angola; Benin; Botswana; Brunei Darussalam; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Comoros; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Ghana; Guinea; Indonesia; Kenya; Liberia; Madagascar; Malawi; Malaysia; Mali; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Papua New Guinea; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Gambia; Sao Tomé and Principe; Singapore
Present - origin uncertain:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:57400000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population is estimated to number 1,000-10,000 individuals, roughly equating to 670-6,700 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:670-6700Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Behaviour The species is widespread (within 15ᵒN to 31ᵒS), with an afro-Malagasy, Indomalayan and fringing north Australasian distribution (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001), but this is fragmented and the species is locally uncommon.  Within sub-Saharan Africa, the species is distributed from Senegal, east to Kenya, including central Ethiopia, and as far south as the northern boundary of Namibia and Zimbabwe.  Within Southeast Asia, it is found in peninsular Thailand, south Tenasserim, Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo and southeast New Guinea.  Its presence has also been established in Madagascar and north-central Sulawesi, but there are no breeding records for either (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001). In general, the species is considered sedentary, but it may have some migratory movements suggested by its appearance in southwest Madagascar during the southern winter, and in unusual habitats in sub-tropical southern Africa and in northeast tropical Africa (del Hoyo et al., 1994; Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001).

The species is crepuscular, predominantly active in single short periods during dusk (Brown et al., 1982; Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001). It remains at roost on a perch during daylight, then becomes alert at sunset, preening for up to 30 minutes before foraging.  Most prey are caught during a 20 minute period at dusk, but some hunting occurs at dawn or at night if bats are active near artificial light sources or in moonlight. The species will patrol areas near the entrance to bat roosts or water bodies, catching prey on the wing and swallowing it whole, although they will also occasionally still-hunt from a perch.

In West Africa, breeding occurs during March-June and October-January, in East Africa between April and August and in Southern Africa during September-December. For the Indomalayan range, breeding occurs during April-September.

Habitat The species occupies a range of habitats up to 2000m that include forest, disturbed forest, towns, and - less frequently - dry bush.  The species’ presence is essentially determined by the occurrence of flying prey (particularly bats) that are active at dusk (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001). 

Diet The species’ diet is largely composed of small bats (20-75g), birds (including cave-nesting swiftlets in Malaysia and Indonesia, and various swifts, hirundines, nightjars and other groups in Africa), and large insects (Brown et al., 1982; del Hoyo et al., 1994; Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001).

Breeding Site Nest platforms are constructed in the upright forks or outer lateral branches of tall, leafy, emergent trees such as baobab or eucalyptus, and are composed of sticks lined with smaller twigs and occasionally also leaves. It is often faithful to the same site for many years (Brown, et al., 1982). The species has also been known to nest in town trees where bats are often present (Brown et al., 1982; del Hoyo et al., 1994; Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001).

Management Information The species may be declining in Borneo although its status is little known.  It is not known to be affected by pesticides, even though their bat prey probably are (del Hoyo et al., 1994).

Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):7.6
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Nests are vulnerable during high winds (del Hoyo et al., 1994).  No other threats documented.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Macheiramphus alcinus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22695021A93485278. . Downloaded on 16 July 2018.
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