Grey-headed flying-foxes are large, with a wingspan of up to a metre. They are the only Australian flying-fox species that has a collar of orange/brown fur fully encircling their neck. Their head and stomach is covered in light grey fur, sometimes with flecks of ginger. Fur on the back of adults is dark grey while juveniles have a frosted appearance. Grey-headed flying-foxes also have leg fur which extends to the ankle. This helps to distinguish this species from the similarly sized black flying-fox which has bare legs below the knee.
Grey-headed flying-foxes roost in large aggregations, known as camps. Females generally reach sexual maturity in their second year and will only bear one young per year. Breeding season generally occurs in early autumn and after 6 months gestation the live young are born in spring. For a 1-2 month period, the young will be carried with the mother, clinging to her during nightly flights in search of nectar. Once a little bit older, they are left in the camp or ‘crèches’. Young are weaned when they are five to six months old.
The grey-headed flying-fox has suffered major population decline over the last decade and are listed as 'Vulnerable' under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The biggest threat to the species is habitat loss resulting in fewer roosting and foraging opportunities.
It is an offence to harm threatened species or their habitat. Large fines and/or prison sentences may apply.
What's the difference between a flying-fox and a bat?
Flying-fox, fruit-bat, microbat; they are all given the general name bat and are a part of the same order; Chiroptera. However there are two suborders; megabats and microbats, which are very very different.
Flying-foxes, like the grey-headed flying-fox, are a part of the megabat group; as their name suggests they are large, they generally eat fruit and nectar and do not use echolocation to locate their food.
Microbats are small, generally insectivorous and use echolocation to locate their prey.
Flying-foxes and Microbats fact sheet 2013(PDF, 420KB)