Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox

Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox

Giant fruit bat, Golden-capped fruit bat

Acerodon jubatus
Population size
Life Span
12-23 years
g oz 
mm inch 
m ft 

The Giant golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus) is native and endemic exclusively to the Philippines. Otherwise called the Golden-capped Fruit Bat, this animal is the largest and one of the rarest bats around the globe, currently classified as Endangered. Moreover, this animal is threatened with extinction as a result of continuous poaching and destruction of its forest habitat. These massive, giant bats belong to the group of megabats. There is very little information on the life expectancy of this species, although captive individuals are known to live as long as 23 years, while those in the wild are believed to live less - up to 15 years.


The Giant golden-crowned flying fox gets its common name from its fur coloration. It has a golden coloration that begins between its eyes and terminates to a narrow "V" shape at the nape of its neck, though sometimes extending to the upper shoulders. The sides of its face, brows, and throat are black, while the sides of its neck and upper back are maroon; this maroon fur transitions into brownish black, which then grades into reddish brown down the back. On its ventral (belly) side, its fur is generally black, though the front of the neck may have a maroon tinge and its belly may be interspersed with yellow hairs. Its hindlimbs are covered with brownish-black fur, and its flight membranes are pale brown.




Biogeographical realms

These bats are found in the Philippines, the Palawan region as well as the Batanes and Babuyan island groups. The preferred habitat of these animals is large, primary, or mature secondary forests. They prefer areas uninhabited by humans. They also use river corridors called riparian zones because the fig trees located near rivers are the bats' main source of food.

Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox habitat map

Climate zones

Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox habitat map
Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox
Attribution-ShareAlike License

Habits and Lifestyle

The Giant golden-crowned flying fox is generally a nocturnal creature, foraging at night. This animal can fly a huge distance of up to 40 km per night when looking for food. During the season when fruits are available, these animals often gather in large colonies of up to 150,000 individuals, typically in areas with an abundance of fruits. Living in these large aggregations, individuals can warm up and escape predators. They not only form colonies of conspecifics but also occur in mixed concentrations with the Malayan flying foxes. The Giant golden-crowned flying foxes rest in the characteristic upside-down position. The well-developed eyesight helps them navigate the environment as well as to detect food, as opposed to other bats, which mainly rely on echolocation.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

These bats are herbivores. They maintain a frugivorous diet, particularly favoring fruits of fig (Ficus) trees, though they also consume plant leaves (folivorous).

Mating Habits

births occur in April-June
1 pup

Giant golden-crowned flying foxes typically occur in isolated populations and thus the reproductive system and behavior of this species are poorly known. However, it is known that other flying fox species exhibit a polygynous mating system, in which males mate with many females during a breeding season. These bats are thought to have two breeding seasons per year, but each female produces offspring only once a year. Neither the exact time of breeding season nor the duration of pregnancy is known. Females generally give birth in April-June, yielding a single baby, which clings to the fur of its mother with its claws. The mother will care for her pup, lactating as well as fanning with her wing to keep the baby cool. Female bats are ready to produce offspring of their own at 2 years old.


Population threats

One of the biggest threats to the population of these bats is the loss of their natural habitat, associated with logging and farming projects. This factor is compounded by their dependence on fig trees, which grow exclusively in old-growth forests. The Golden-crowned flying foxes suffer from hunting for food and the animal trade. Currently, there are 3 large roost sites, where these bats are protected from hunting. However, when going beyond these roosts to find food, they often become victims of hunters.

Population number

According to the IUCN Red List, the rough estimate of the total Giant golden-crowned flying foxes’ population is around 10,000 individuals (and probably no more than 20,000 individuals). Currently, this species is classified as Endangered (EN) and its numbers continue to decrease.

Ecological niche

Due to their frugivorous diet, these animals act as important seed dispersers of some fruiting plants, which they do through their faces. This also makes them key pollinators of their range, benefiting the ecosystem of their habitat.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • Personal care and grooming are important parts of their lives. Each individual spends a considerable amount of time grooming itself with water. During this procedure, the Giant golden-crowned flying foxes scoop water from ponds and other nearby water bodies with their large wings and then spread it all over their bodies to clean themselves.
  • The Giant golden-crowned flying foxes are considered mythical animals in South America and are referred to by locals as “Chupacabras”. The latter word is associated with a Puerto-Rican myth about a cryptic creature. Currently, this myth is very popular beyond Puerto Rico: in Mexico, Peru, and other countries of Central and South America.
  • The Golden-crowned flying foxes are so-called due to having a golden-brown head crown as well as their similarity with foxes.
  • The Golden-crowned flying foxes give off a characteristic odor and thus may use olfactory communication, although they don't seem to have scent glands.
  • According to DNA profiling, these animals are genetically related to foxes.
  • These animals possess enormously large wings, which they occasionally wrap around their bodies. Due to this unusual feature, these bats are otherwise known as 'Foxes with Wings'.


1. Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox Wikipedia article -
2. Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox on The IUCN Red List site -

More Fascinating Animals to Learn About