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Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 5:04 EDT

Bat Falcon, Falco rufigularis

The Bat Falcon, (Falco rufigularis), is a species of bird of prey found in Mexico, Central and South America and Trinidad. It was formerly known as Falco albigularis. Its habitats are open woodlands and forest clearings.

The adult female Bat Falcon measures 12 inches in length while the male is smaller, at 9 inches. The adult has a black back, head and tail. The throat, upper breast and neck sides are creamy white, the lower breast and belly is black, finely barred white, and the thighs and lower belly are orange. Juveniles are similar to adults except for a buffy (pale yellow) throat. The call is a high-pitched ke-ke-ke.

The Bat Falcon is similar in appearance to the possibly close-related Orange-breasted Falcon. Both the Orange-breasted Falcon and Bat Falcon are closely related to the Aplomado Falcon, further contributing to the two former being related.

Bat Falcons perch on high open snags, from which they launch aerial attacks on their prey. They actively hunt bats, birds and large insects such as dragonflies. The male eats more insects, while the female prefers bats and birds. The flight is direct and powerful. The female lays 2-3 brown eggs in an unlined tree hole nest.

Image Caption: A Bat Falcon in Manizales, Caldas, Colombia. Credit: Julian Londono/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis