Black flying fox (Pteropus alecto)
The black flying fox, or central flying fox, is a wide-ranging species which occurs in eastern Indonesia (Sulawesi), New Guinea and northern Australia. It inhabits tropical and subtropical mangrove, coastal forest, swamp forest and riverine forest.
It is known to form mixed colonies with other species of flying fox, which may include thousands of individuals. Large-scale movements of hundreds of these bats have been documented between eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Australia covering many hundreds of kilometres in a year.
The diet of this species includes a variety of flowers and fruits. For example, in Australia, eucalypts and Banksia are consumed, and in tropical eastern Indonesia rainforest fruits are eaten. The species also has a taste for cultivated fruits, particularly mango.
Their fur is typically jet black throughout, but some populations or individuals possess a brown patch of fur on the back of the neck and shoulders. In some individuals the tips of each hair may be frosted with grey.
In Sulawesi over-hunting for food has had a dramatic effect on populations, such that the species is now considered to be absent from North Sulawesi province (including the area around Manado).