Echolocating bats emit terminal phase buzz calls while drinking on the wing Academic Article uri icon


  • Echolocating bats are known to produce terminal buzz calls during pursuit and capture of airborne prey, however the use of buzz calls while drinking on the wing has not been previously investigated. In this study I recorded the first empirical evidence that bats produce terminal phase buzz calls while drinking on the wing. Every drinking pass recorded during this study was characterised by a terminal buzz which bats emitted immediately prior to touching the water surface with their mouth. The characteristic frequency (the frequency at the end or flattest portion of the pulse) of echolocation call sequences containing drinking buzzes varied from 25kHz to 50kHz, suggesting multiple bat species present at the study site emit buzzes while drinking on the wing. As feeding buzz calls appear to be ubiquitous among echolocating bat taxa, the prevalence of drinking buzzes clearly warrants further investigation. Drinking buzzes could potentially be used to document rates of drinking by bats in the same way that feeding buzzes are used to infer foraging activity.

publication date

  • 2013