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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Black-bearded Tomb Bat

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4

Fig 5

Fig 6

Fig 7

Fig 8



Family : Emballonuridae
Species : Taphozous melanopogon

Forearm Length : up to 6.5 cm
Tail Length : up to 2.4 cm

This adaptable and widespread insectivorous bat typically roosts in caves and rock crevices, sometimes in the company of other bat species.

The pair of pale bats in Figure 1 were found clinging to the roof of a large limestone cave at Krabi, southern Thailand, in the company of around 50 Great Roundleaf Bat. Colonies of up to 4000 individuals have been reported from other parts of Thailand.

This species is also capable of adapting to urban settings; Figures 5 and 6 are of a pair roosting in a multi-storey car park in Peninsular Malaysia. In Singapore their distinctive calls can be detected in many areas.

These tomb bats typically forage just above the forest canopy; they can sometimes be observed at dusk catching moths and other insects at the  forest edge.

Their fur colour is generally pale, ranging from buff to greyish-brown. Adult males usually have a well-developed patch of dark fur under the throat. The free tail of this species is long and slender, sometimes thickened towards the tip.

The Black-bearded Tomb Bat ranges from India and Sri Lanka, through Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and southern China to Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Java,  Borneo and other islands of Indonesia as far east as Flores.

Fig 1 : A small group roosting in a small cave at a Buddhist Temple in Ipoh, Perak, Peninsular Malaysia.

Fig 2 : A pair of pale Black-bearded Tomb Bats clings to the roof of a limestone cave at Krabi, southern Thailand.

Figs 3 and 4 : Roosting groups at Labuanbajo, Flores, Indonesia. The male in Figure 3 has a very large patch of black fur beneath the chin.

Figs 5 and 6 : Examples from Penang Island, Peninsular Malaysia, with one showing its impressive teeth.

Fig 7 : This bat was found roosting in a building in downtown Kota Tinggi, Johor, Peninsular Malaysia.

Fig 8 : Searching for flying insects at dusk, near Bukit Brown, Singapore.

References : M2, M3