Buffy flower bat (Erophylla sezekorni)

Buffy flower bat hanging from ceiling
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Buffy flower bat fact file

Buffy flower bat description

GenusErophylla (1)

A little-known, medium-sized bat found only in the West Indies, the buffy flower bat (Erophylla sezerkorni) is recognisable by its distinct, elongated, conical-shaped snout with steep forehead (3) (4). This enigmatic mammal has a narrow, pointed tragus, broad, naked wings, a small tail that extends slightly beyond the tail membrane, and a reduced noseleaf that is either notched or forked at the tip (2) (3) (4). The upperparts are highly variable in colour, ranging from cream to light grey-brown. The facial skin is lighter than the rest of the upperparts, and the underparts are a more uniform, lighter brown (3).   

Head-body length: 6.5 - 7.5 cm (2)
Tail length: 1.2 - 1.7 cm (2)

Buffy flower bat biology

A little-studied, enigmatic bat, hardly anything is known about the biology of the buffy flower bat. It is, however, a highly gregarious species and is thought to emerge from its daytime roosts later than other species of bat (1). Its diet is believed to consist largely of pollen, hence its common name, but may also comprise insects, fruit and nectar (1) (4). The buffy flower bat is thought to give birth to a single young each year, and the discovery of pregnant females on Cuba in February suggests that breeding takes place around this time (1) (3). It is likely that most females give birth around June, with the young subsequently weaned in September or October (3) (5).  


Buffy flower bat range

The buffy flower bat occurs on Cuba, including the Isle of Pines, most major islands in the Bahamas, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (1) (2) (5).


Buffy flower bat habitat

Typically, the buffy flower bat is found roosting on the ceiling or walls of deep, dark portions of caves with minimal air circulation and extreme humidity, but may sometimes roost in cooler caves exposed to some degree of sunlight (1) (3). It forages in tropical forest, plantations and gardens (4)


Buffy flower bat status

The buffy flower bat is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern


Buffy flower bat threats

Where suitable foraging and roosting habitat is available, the buffy flower bat is a common species that often forms colonies comprising many thousands of animals. It is, however, intolerant of disturbance and a colony on the island of Cayman Brac is thought to have been abandoned due to disturbance from a road, which was diverted to within just a few metres of the roosting cave. In places its cave habitat is also threatened by mining and guano harvesting (1) (5).


Buffy flower bat conservation

In the absence of any major threats to the buffy flower bat, it has not been the target of any known conservation measures. A conservation priority for this species is the protection of its roosting caves (1).


Find out more

For more information on the conservation of bats, see:



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Accumulated droppings found where large colonies of animals such as seals, bats or birds occur; it is rich in plant nutrients.
A fleshy structure surrounding the nose, common to many bats. It is believed to function in focusing echolocation calls (high-pitched calls used in orientation and to locate prey) emitted from the nose.
A soft cartilaginous projection extending in front of the external opening of the ear. In bats, it plays an important role in filtering returning echoes in echolocation.


  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2010)
  2. Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker’s Mammals of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.
  3. Baker, R.J., August, P.V. and Steuter, A.A. (1978) Erophylla sezekorni. Mammalian Species, 115: 1-5.
  4. Reid, F. (2006) A Field Guide to the Mammals of North America, North of Mexico. Peterson Field Guides, New York.
  5. Brunt, M.A. and Davies, J.E. (1994) The Cayman Islands: Natural History and Biogeography. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Netherlands.

Image credit

Buffy flower bat hanging from ceiling  
Buffy flower bat hanging from ceiling

© Larry Manfredi

Larry Manfredi


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