Noctilio albiventris individuals use echolocation to locate insects near the surface of the water. Although the other member of this genus, N. leporinus, is piscivorous, N. albiventris is primarily insectivorous. The feeding behavior of N. albiventris is flexible. Aerial capture is used as the primary foraging strategy, but if an insect falls to the surface of the water, N. albiventris is able to quickly change its foraging strategy to capture the insect by scooping it up from the surface of the water (pointed dip) or by raking the surface of the water with its hind claws (directed random rake) (Lewis-Oritt et al. 2001). This behavioral plasticity is thought to be a precursor to the evolution of piscivorous feeding behavior in N. leporinus (Kalko et al. 1998). In laboratory studies, N. albiventris has been trained to take floating fish from the surface of the water (Suthers and Fattu 1973) and researchers have identified fish scales in N. albiventris guano. There have been limited observations of these bats taking fish in the wild (Galileu Coelho, pers. comm.). Based on studies of the stomach contents of N. albiventris, most of the diet is derived from insects (Nowak 1994).
Animal Foods: fish; insects
Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )