Photo Credit: Alan Harper

California leaf-nosed bat

Macrotus californicus

Order: Chiroptera

Suborder: Yangochiroptera

Family: Phyllostomidae

Call characteristics:

Low decibel caller (whispering)


1 1/5 - 5 1/3 in

(4 – 13.5 cm)


  1/4 - 3/5 oz

(8 - 17 g)

The California leaf-nosed bat has gray to dark brown pelage, with often-paler ventral fur. The California leaf-nosed bat prefers hunting sans echolocation, using its sizeable ears and eyes to detect its prey outright. This bat mostly eats large insects and is one of the few bat species to eat caterpillars; it may supplement its insect diet with cacti fruit. This desert species can be found in scrub habitat of the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. It is not well-suited to long flight and does not migrate nor hibernate. Mothers rear one pup per year. The California leaf-nosed bat roosts in rocky areas, caves, and mines and can survive to 20-30 years of age in the wild.

Conservation Status

Canada Species at Risk

Photo Credit: Alan Harper




NABat utilizes monitoring data provided by a broad network of partners to support regional and range-wide inferences about changes in the distributions and abundances of bat populations facing current and emerging threats.

Information used to populate this page was obtained from the following sources:


NatureServe Explorer

United States Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Conservation Online System 

Bat Conservation International Bat Profiles

National Atlas of the United States. (2011). North American Bat Ranges, 1830-2008. National Atlas of the United States. Available at:

Taylor, M. 2019. Bats: an illustrated guide to all species. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books.