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Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
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Spectacled Flying-fox

Photo: Courtesy of Damon Ramsey
BSc.(Zool) Biologist Guide

Spectacled Flying-fox: Pteropus conspicsllatus

  • Is also known as the Spectacled Fruit-Bat.


  • Has prominent pale straw-coloured rings around its eyes suggesting spectacles.

  • It is a placental mammal of wet tropical rainforests.

  • Weight ranges from 400-600g, size (head and body length) from 220-240mm, and forearm length from 155-175mm.

Distribution and Habitat:

  • Three subspecies are recognised, but only one of these is in Australia, and this has a limited range.
  • It is restricted in Australia to the north-eastern wet regions of Queensland.

  • It is found in New Guinea and offshore islands including Woodlark, Alcester, Kiriwina and Halmahera.

  • It prefers to spend its time in the upper canopy of taller trees in the rainforest, but can also be seen in swamps and mangroves.


  • They leave the camp at dusk to search for food, with most animals streaming off in different directions, high up and in a purposeful manner. Only a few bats will search for food near the camp in an apparently random way.
  • They are guided by their keen sense of smell, good nocturnal vision and the feeding cries of other flying-foxes as they look for food.
  • They prefer the nectar and pollen from blossoms and fruits of forest trees and palms, especially the Northern Bloodwood and the Apple Box.
  • They also likes to eat citrus fruits and mangoes.
  • Some bats drink water while skimming over the surfaces they leave or return to their camp.
  • They have been seen drinking sea water in this way, and crocodiles have snapped them up while doing so. Other predators include the Carpet Python and the White-breasted Sea-eagle.

Social Behaviour:

  • During the day, these bats spend their time in communal camps found in the upper canopy. A camp may consist of tens of thousands of individuals.

  • They rarely sleep and are easy to locate as they squawk a lot of the time amongst themselves, making the din within a camp quite deafening.


  • Females can breed after two years.

  • Mating occurs between March and May, with one young being born to each female from October to early December.

Viewing Opportunities:

  • The Tolga scrub in the late afternoon is a excellent viewing area.

Additional Information:

  • The Spectacled flying fox was listed as a threatened species in May 2002.
  • When it takes off, it beats its wings until its body is horizontal, then releases its grip to fly forward (usually after dropping several metres first).
  • They considerably damage smaller tree branches and after stripping a batch of trees, the colony will move 50-100m away to a new area.
  • Spectacled Flying-foxes have been kept in captivity for 17 years.

Additional Information: Courtesy of Damon Ramsey

  • They  have lighter coloured fur on the back shoulders, while the rest of the body is blackish.

  •  Due to it's rainforest habitat, it is thought to be an important disperser of many of that ecosystem's fruits (Strahan 1998).

  • It is the tropical rainforest equivalent and the replacement of the black flying fox, of which it looks very similar from a distance.

Script: Courtesy of  Damon Ramsey BSc.(Zool) Biologist Guide

Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges
Lake Eacham, Atherton Tablelands
Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
PH & Fax: 07 4095 3754 International: 61 7 4095 3754

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