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







Golden-crowned Flying Fox

Family : Pteropodidae
Species : Acerodon jubatus

Forearm Length : up to 20 cm
Weight : up to 1200 gms

Acerodon jubatus (Golden-crowned Flying Fox, Golden-capped Fruit Bat) is a large species of flying fox endemic to the islands of the Philippines. It is widespread in its overall distribution, but roosts are separated by great distances. A total population of 10,000 is roughly estimated. (Mildenstein & Pangutalan, 2016).

In 2016, IUCN categorised this bat as Endangered due to significant and continuing population decline (Mildenstein & Pangutalan, 2016). The apparent variation within the species requires further taxonomic study.

IUCN report that of the known roosting sites only 3 have any form of protection from disturbance or hunting; this includes the roosts at Boracay, Mabukal and Subic Bay. Most roosts contain fewer than 200 individuals.

Ecologically this huge bat depends upon the presence of native forest; roosts may occur in mangrove and good coastal forest at sea-level, or lowland dipterocarp forest up to 1100 metres elevation. The loss of good native forest is one of the factors causing the population decline. 

Figs appear to form a good part of the diet of Acerodon jubatus; they rarely forage in orchards or agricultural areas.

Acerodon jubatus shares mixed roosting colonies with larger numbers of Pteropus vampyrus (Large Flying Fox) and occasionally Pteropus hypomelanus (Island Flying Fox) (Mildenstein & Pangutalan, 2016).

Roost-sharing may be a strategy to increase protection from predation or hunting. Within mixed roosts Acerodon jubatus tends to occupy separate trees from bats of other species (Hengjan et al, 2017).

This species can be identified in the field by its bright golden or yellow fur on top of the head, which extends to the nape. 

Roosts of this unique flying fox are still being discovered. In 2023, a new distribution record was documented near Cotabato City, Mindanao (Jumao-as et al, 2023).  

Figs 1 to 3 : Images from a shared roosting colony of Acerodon jubatus and Pteropus vampyrus (Large Flying Fox) at Subic Bay, Luzon, Philippines.  The pale fur on the crown of Acerodon jubatus can clearly be seen in Figure 1.  Photos thanks to Gan Cheong Weei.

Fig 4 : A resting Acerodon jubatus. This example was found hanging from a tree on the outskirts of Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines.  Photo thanks to Gregg Yan.

References :

Hengjan, Y., Iida, K., Doysabas, K. C. C., Phichitrasilp, T., Ohmori, Y., & Hondo, E. (2017). Diurnal behavior and activity budget of the golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus) in the Subic bay forest reserve area, the Philippines. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, 79(10), 1667-1674.

Jumao-as, C. M., Salvaa, F. R. P., Flores, A. B. A., Eril, S. J. M., Yabut, R. F. A., Abler, C. A. C., ... & Cano-Mangaoang, C. (2023). New Distribution Record of Golden-crowned Flying Fox Roost (Pteropodidae: Acerodon jubatus) in Timaco Hill, Cotabato City, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Philippines. Philippine Journal of Science, 152(5), 1847-1850.

Mildenstein, T. and Paguntalan, L. (2016). Acerodon jubatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T139A21988328. 

Fig 1
ゥ  Gan Cheong Weei
Fig 2

ゥ  Gan Cheong Weei

Fig 3

ゥ  Gan Cheong Weei

Fig 4

ゥ  Gregg Yan

Fig 4 by Gregg Yan is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 Deed Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.