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Science & Technology

Bat Falcon Spotted in the United States for the First Time – Lesson

A small bird of prey, typically found in Central and South America, has been spotted in the deep south of Texas. This animal has never been seen in the US before. The bat falcon is attracting bird watchers from all over the United States and even Europe hoping to catch a glimpse of this remarkable creature.

What Is a Bat Falcon?

The bat falcon is a beautifully colored, carnivorous bird that typically lives in woodlands and forests in Mexico and countries throughout Central and South America, like Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil.

These animals spend much of their time perched high in a tree to have a better vantage point for hunting prey. They do much of their hunting at dusk and dawn and feed primarily on bats, other birds, small rodents, and large insects. They are often found along the edges of forests and along riverbanks and streams.

An adult bat falcon has a black head, back, belly, lower breast, and tail, while the throat, upper breast, and sides of their neck are a creamy white shade. In addition, the thighs and lower belly are bright orange. The boldness of their color patterns makes them easy to spot and identify. It is not uncommon for the females to be significantly larger than the males of this species.

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Bat falcons tend to travel alone except during mating season. They choose a mate that they stay loyal to throughout their lives. A female bat falcon lays two to three eggs at a time. The babies leave the nest after about 35 to 40 days, when they can hunt and feed independently.

First Sighting in the United States

The bat falcon found in Texas is the first to be seen within the United States. Though they are not considered rare or endangered in their homeland, it is exceptional to see one in this country. Scientists and bird enthusiasts are unsure why the bird has traveled so far north. No matter the reason, around 4,000 birders are flocking from all over the country and Europe, ecstatic to see the rare-to-these-parts animal in action.

Ray Sharpton, a 77-year-old retiree, has viewed 697 birds, and he traveled from New York hopeful to add the bat falcon to the list. Though several people were able to spot the bird and snap pictures, Sharpton was not as lucky. He did, however, see a couple of other birds that piqued his interest, including a social flycatcher.

Interesting Facts About Bat Falcons

  • The hood pattern on a bat falcon’s head helps protect its eyes from the sun.
  • The tooth-like growth on the bill helps it cut into prey more easily.
  • Bat falcons can catch prey, like bats and insects, while flying through the air.
  • Bat Falcons will stalk their prey for hours and even figure out where they live so they can wait and attack them coming into or leaving their homes.