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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2023



Fawn Roundleaf Bat

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Family : Hipposideridae
Species : Hipposideros cervinus

Forearm Length : up to 5 cm
Weight : up to 10 grams

The Fawn Roundleaf Bat, or Common Leaf-nosed Bat, is a small, insectivorous bat of widespread occurrence. It is found in a range of habitats including dense forest, open woodlands, plantations and gardens.

In Borneo this species is considered to be the most common and widespread insectivorous bat in the island's caves, where numbers can exceed 100,000 in a single roost. However, it also roosts away from caves, possibly beneath man-made structures. It is able to fly very low to the ground whilst hunting for insect prey.

The images shown here were taken at Lambir Hills, Sarawak, Borneo: following a brief shower of rain the bats were found foraging for small insects close to a brightly lit building at the edge of the forest. At times the bats would fly within one metre of the observer.

The fur of this species is bicoloured: the base of each hair is typically pale but the end portion is highly variable in colour, ranging from fawn to bright orange to grey. Its noseleaf is pink, and there are two lateral leaflets (see Fig. 4). Its ears are relatively large, and are somewhat pointed at the tip.

Hipposideros cervinus ranges from Peninsular Malaysia to Sumatra, Java, Borneo, the Philippines, eastern Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia and some islands of the western Pacific. In Singapore its status is considered to be indeterminate.

Figs 1 and 2 : Fawn specimens in full flight around one hour after darkness : the bats were searching for small insects attracted to the external lights of a small building at the forest edge. Seen at Lambir Hills, Sarawak, Borneo.

Fig 3 : View of Lambir Hills, Sarawak. This protected area still supports one of the most diverse flora in the world.

Fig 4 : Close-up of the noseleaf, showing the two lateral leaflets. Photo thanks to Noel Thomas.

Fig 5 : Orange-brown example from Lambir Hills with wings outstretched.

References : M2, M4, M5, M6


Fig 4
ゥ  Noel Thomas

Fig 5