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Grey-Head Flying Fox

Grey-Head Flying Fox
Photo Information
Copyright: Colin McQueen (McQueenca) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 131 W: 11 N: 226] (1387)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2013-02-01
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon 7D
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/200 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2013-02-07 23:08
Viewed: 4931
Points: 36
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This photo was taken in the Redcliffe Botanical Gardens. It was very hot when I took these photos. The bats would hang in the trees fanning themselves with one wing. There was a fair amount of noise for a group that should be sleeping. The Flying Fox have had a tough summer these year. The fruit crop was not good do to a dry spring and a hot summer. I was reading a report from a Sidney paper that approx. 5000 had died due to the heat in a matter of days. This photo is of a Grey-head female I suspect nursing her youngster. I think the youngster was not happy, so she opened her wings to make an adjustment allowing me to get the shot. This photo has been cropped

Diet and foraging
Most vegetation communities on which this species forages produce nectar and pollen seasonally and are abundant unpredictably, so the flying fox's migration traits cope with this. The time when flying foxes leave their roosts to feed depends on foraging light and predation risk.[9] Flying foxes have more time and light when foraging if they leave their roosts early in the day.[9] The entire colony may leave later if a predatory bird is present, while lactating females leave earlier.[9] With males, the bachelors leave earlier than harem-holding males, which guard their wait until all their females have left.[9] The flying foxes that leave the roost earlier are more vulnerable to predation, and some other flying foxes will wait for others to leave, a phenomenon labelled the "after you" effect.[9]
Around dusk, grey-headed flying foxes leave the roost and travel up to 50 km a night to feed on pollen, nectar and fruit.[6]The species consumes fruit flowers and pollens of around 187 plant species.[7] Theses include Eucalyptus, particularlyEucalyptus gummifera, Eucalyptus muellerana, Eucalyptus globoidea and Eucalyptus botryoides,[3][8] and fruits from a wide range of rainforest trees, including members of the Ficus genus.[3][8] These bats are considered sequential specialists, since they feed on a variety of foods.[8] Grey-headed flying foxes, along with the three other Australian flying fox species, fulfill a very important ecological role by dispersing the pollen and seeds of a wide range of native Australian plants. The grey-headed flying fox is the only mammalian nectarivore and frugivore to occupy substantial areas of subtropical rainforests, so is of key importance to those forests.

Social Organisation
Groupings and territories
Grey-headed flying foxes form two different roosting camps, summer camps and winter camps.[10] Summer camps are used from September to April or June. In these camps, they establish territories, mate, and reproduce.[10] Winter camps are used from April to September. The sexes are separated in winter camps and most behaviour is characterised by mutual grooming.[10] Summer camps are considered "main camps", while winter camps are referred to as "transit camps".[10]
In their summer camps, starting in January, male grey-headed flying foxes set up mating territories. Mating territories are generally 3.5 body lengths along branches.[11]These flying foxes' neck glands enlarge in males in the mating season, and are used to mark the territories.[11] The males fight to maintain their territories, and this is associated with a steep drop in the males' body condition during this time.[12][13] Around the beginning of the mating season, adult females move from the periphery towards the central male territories where they become part of short-term ‘harems’ that consist of a male and an unstable group of up to five females.[11] Centrally located males are polygamous, while males on the periphery are monogamous or single.[10][11] The mating system of the grey-headed flying fox is best described as a lekbecause males do not provide any essential resources to females and are chosen on the basis of their physical location within the roost, which correlates with male quality.[11]

Matings are generally observed between March and May, but the most likely time of conception is April.[14] Most mating takes place in the territories and during the day. Females have control over the copulation process, and males may have to keep mating with the same females.[15] Females usually give birth to one young each year.[16]Gestation lasts around 27 weeks,[17] and pregnant females give birth between late September and November. Late births into January are sometimes observed. Thealtrical newborns rely on their mothers for warmth.[18] For their first three weeks, young cling to their mothers when they go foraging. After this, the young remain in the roosts. By January, young are capable of sustained flight, and by February, March or April are fully weaned.
Flying foxes are preyed on by eagles, goannas, and snakes,[10] as well as crocodiles.

To be continued.
Source: Wikipedia

Argus, Merlin, nagraj, ramthakur, CeltickRanger, Nature-cy, Hotelcalifornia has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2013-02-07 23:17]

Hello Colin,
A great capture! Nice to see the mother and its youngster taken from a good POV with fine clarity and natural colours.
We never saw these in Queensland, but there is a large colony of Grey-headed Flying Foxes in the Sydney Botanical Gardens, where they create a nuisance with their droppings.
Thanks and have a good weekend,

Hi Colin. This is just an amazing animal. It reminds me of a lion with wings. You captured a wonderful moment of nursing here. I wonder how their children know them in the dark. You managed great focus with details. Just a wonderful shot! TFS Trevor

This is a beautiful portrait of the flying fox caring for her young, nicely timed and taken from a point of view that is usually difficult to achieve (we are usually looking up at them). The only thing that detracts a little is the "bright spots" in the background, which are impossible to avoid when shooting into a canopy of leaves. I tried a very quick workshop to see if I could tone the background down a little.
Best wishes, Nigel.

這張很清晰 帶子著寶寶
很難的的鏡頭 真不容易

Hi Colin

Looks as if the flying fox is using the folded webbing between its feet as a sack to support the young one while nursing. Quite amazing and a nice picture depicting this nurturing characteristics. Nice focus and sharpness to reveal the details on the wings.


hello Colin
great sharpness composition with many details and beautiful colours
thanks greeting lou

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2013-02-08 6:01]

Excellent image of this bat with younger one..perfect timing to capture with its wing open to enable us to see this younger one..good work. tfs.

I'm alarmed to know that many of these creatures perished in the summer heat, Colin.
Very good capture of this female, giving a clear impression of how it is making adjustments for its baby.

Hello Colin

Great photo in the same time with full of tenderness
the Mommy and her baby and the same time with
their acrobatic pose, with superb focus,
sharpness and details, beautiful soft light, TFS


Hi Colin
that's great, lovely compo and perfect pose
even Flying fox babies are cute

Hi Colin,

Beautiful photo! Very nice detail of this flying fox and her young!
Good work!


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2013-02-08 8:09]

Hello Colin,
Excellent photo of this flying fox in great sharpness, details and beautiful natural colours. Taken from an attractive POV.

Hello Colin,
Beautiful picture you have taken.Nice natural colour and sharpness.Well done.I like it.
Thanks for sharing,
Kind regards,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-02-08 11:25]

Hi Colin,a total view after the portrait about this family,magnificent capture whit the best details and colors,there are a lot on my country too but always hidden during the light hours.Have a nice weekend and thanks,Luciano

Amazing scene and great photo Colin! Excellent composition, wonderful lighting and very good sharpness.

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2013-02-09 19:34]

Hello Colin.
What an interesting and very unique shot. I have to admit I didn't see the baby at first until I read your notes. Excellent detail and beautiful coloration. Well done!!


Most interesting how the thumb is hyper developed in these fruit bats. Your POV depicts this well. Tried for the life of me to figure out the orientation of the baby? Nice biological image.


Hello Colin.
a superb picture of this only flying mammal with fantastic detail and colour.
best wishes,

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