Bat Hawk | Macheiramphus alcinus | Birds & Birding Southern Africa

The Bat Hawk is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Accipitridae bird family group which includes birds such as Raptors, Old Vultures, Osprey (Raptors).

Robert's Birding Information On The Bat Hawk

The description for the Bat Hawk (Latin name Macheiramphus alcinus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Macheiramphus alcinus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 129 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 447. You will find a picture of the Bat Hawk on page 480.

The Bat Hawk is known as a "lifer" in the birding circles of South Africa.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Bat Hawk between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Bat Hawk is known in Afrikaans as Vlermuisvalk.

The Bat Hawk has a height of 45 cms and weighs around 600 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured black. The Macheiramphus alcinus has a white, black coloured throat, yellow legs and a black coloured back. The eyes are yellow.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is black

Eyes are yellow

Bill is black

Legs are yellow

Throat is white, black

Back is black

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult  
Female Adult  
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

Bat Hawk Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The Bat Hawk uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

Bat Hawk Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Bat Hawk is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 2 eggs and they are coloured blue, white.

The Bat Hawk is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams.

The Bat Hawk is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.