Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Bat Hawk (Macheiramphus alcinus)


French: Alcin des chauves-souris German: Fledermausaar Spanish: Milano murcielaguero

Macheiramphus alcinus


, 1850,

Malacca, Malay Peninsula


Little-known population of Sulawesi may represent a distinct, undescribed race; study required. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. a. anderssoni (Gurney, Sr, 1866) – Senegambia E to Somalia and S to Namibia and N South Africa, also Madagascar#R.
  • M. a. alcinus Bonaparte, 1850 – S Myanmar, W Thailand, Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo and possibly NC Sulawesi.
  • M. a. papuanus (Mayr, 1940) – lowlands and lower montane regions of S New Guinea#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    41–51 cm; 600–650 g; wingspan 95–120 cm. Mid-sized kite with falcon-like shape that is relatively larger and much broader- and blunter-winged than two other... read more


    Usually silent away from vicinity of nest, where gives weak falcon-like chattering "kek-kek-... read more


    Most widespread in evergreen forest and dense deciduous woodland, often associated with limestone;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Primarily 20–75 g insectivorous bats (larger species apparently ignored); in Malawi one recorded taking seven Tadarida sp.... read more


    Laying probably Apr in Gabon; Mar (–Jun), Oct–Nov in Sierra Leone; Apr–Aug, Oct in E Africa; Sept–Nov in Malawi;... read more


    Generally considered resident in tropics, but renowned in subtropical S Africa for appearing far... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Rough global population estimate of only 1000–10,000 individuals; numbers suspected to be stable given absence of any... read more

    Recommended citation

    Kemp, A.C., Kirwan, G.M. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Bat Hawk (Macheiramphus alcinus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 27 February 2020).