Move over big guys, the Little Red Flying Foxes are back!

An adult Little Red Flying fox, handing in a tree, looking straight at camera.

On any given day in Kooloonbung Creek you can visit the larger Grey-Headed and Black flying foxes as they roost, but Little Reds are not always guaranteed.

While they are the most widespread species of mega-bat in Australia, they are highly nomadic, following the flowering of Eucalyptus trees across the country.

In our February 2024 Flying Fox census we were excited to find the Little Red Flying Fox has returned to Kooloonbung Creek. Our estimated count put their numbers at 2549 in an area spanning just over a hectare. You’ll spot them cuddled-up slightly lower down in the tree canopy than the Black and Grey-headed species, and they like to sit in clusters, with up to 30 on a single branch.

Their main food source is nectar and pollen, only occasionally eating fruit. As the only flying fox in the world that eats almost exclusively nectar, their tongues have evolved differently to other flying foxes – they are more like that of a nectar-feeding bird, such as a honeyeater.

These amazing little creatures fly incredible distances – several thousand kilometres in fact – travelling along the coast and further inland, though tropical, subtropical and temperate environments, in their search for food. Due to the limited availability of their food sources, their stay in one place is often short – so head down for a visit while you can!

Why are flying foxes important?

Flying foxes are vital to our ecosystem – as keystone pollinators they play an essential role in pollinating flowers and dispersing seeds throughout our environment. Given the large distances they cover, they are responsible for ensuring the genetic diversity of the plant species they feed on. A single flying fox can disperse up to 60,000 seeds in one night!

What is the Flying Fox Census?
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council contribute to the CSIRO’s National Flying-Fox Monitoring Program. This involves a quarterly count of The Kooloonbung Creek camp.

One of our local species, the Grey-Headed Flying Fox is now classified as vulnerable to extinction under state and federal legislation. Given the nomadic nature of flying foxes, the national census is the most accurate way of estimating their current population.

You can view current and historic flying fox census data here: Flying-foxes Port Macquarie Hastings Council (nsw.gov.au).

Join Frankie's Fan Club

You can also learn more about our local flying foxes via our campaign page, Frankie’s Fan Club. Here you can meet Frankie, view our member photo gallery, visit our virtual camp and join our local Little Legends as they meet our Ecologist, Byron, to learn more about the important role flying foxes play in our region.

Visiting our flying foxes

You can visit the Kooloonbung Creek Nature Reserve at the corner of Horton and Gordon Streets in Port Macquarie. The raised timber walkway will take you through the mangroves for a perfect view of the flying foxes roosting above. It is a true wildlife experience to sight these amazing creatures at rest.

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