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Recording Malawi's Bats

Echolocation is a complex sensory mechanism used by most bat species to navigate and forage. Bat echolocation calls are ultrasonic and above the human range of hearing. As many bats can be identified by their echolocation calls, considerable research has been undertaken in acoustic analyses of bat echolocation calls.


Understanding bat echolocation is important for determining the ecological function and environmental requirements of each species, as there is a high level of interdependence between echolocation systems, preferential foraging habitats, and morphological adaptations (Dietz & Kiefer, 2016).

ABC Bio-acoustics Library

There is a paucity of acoustic data for bats of Malawi and Africa, limiting our ability to survey and map populations, and understand their ecological requirements. 

Since 2011 we have been collecting echolocation calls and creating the first bat echolocation call library for Malawi. 

Nycteris spp.jpg

Boosting Bat Conservation 

We currently have hundreds of calls in our library and continue to build the library for every bat we catch and record.   


Results from this project will benefit bat research as an acoustic library will aid identification of bat species during surveys. Although at this stage it is unclear how many species could be identifiable through echolocation calls, combining morphological measurements with acoustic signatures will be the most reliable method for identifying a bat species.

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