Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
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Diaemus youngi

White-winged Vampire Bat

Order: Chiroptera
Family: Phyllostomidae

Image of Diaemus youngi
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Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Like other vampire bats, White-winged Vampire Bats never eat solid food or drink water. They are similar in many ways to the Common Vampire Bat, but prey more on birds than on mammals. They have been caught feeding on chickens, and their behavior when attacking birds has been observed. They often choose the bird’s foot, where there are no feathers, and usually the toe that points backwards. Perhaps this keeps them out of the bird’s sight. Before they bite, they lick the area for 10 seconds to two minutes. Is there an anesthetic in their saliva? Or does this soften the scales on the bird’s foot? If the bird notices the bat, it may crawl under the bird’s wing to hide. There are other things to learn. For example, these bats have scent glands inside their mouths. If disturbed, a bat opens its mouth and emits a stinky odor. Is this for protection against predators? Do the bats use the scent glands to mark their territory? Does it enable one bat to recognize another?

Range: Head and Body: 77-115 mm

Range: 32-40 g


Jentink, F.A., 1893. Notes from the Leyden Museum, 15:282.


Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Diaemus youngi