The vocalisations emitted by adult and juvenile Grey-headed Flying-foxes Pteropus poliocephalus (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) within daytime camps and night nurseries were studied using audio and video data. The calls were differentiated via discriminant analysis and the motor action associated with each call type was categorised. Five distinct call types were emitted by adult P. poliocephalus within daytime camps; ark calls, harsh chuckles, tonal calls, tonal chuckles and chups. The following classification was then applied to distinguish between these calls types; (I) the harsh chuckles and ark calls as ‘harsh’; (2) the tonal calls as ‘tonal’; and (3) the tonal chuckles and chups as ‘intermediate’ between the previous two.
Ark calls and harsh chuckles occurred predominantly in association with agonistic behaviours such as fighting and retaliating after being investigated by another individual; tonal calls were emitted most frequently when an individual was crawling or flying away from an agonistic encounter; and tonal chuckles and chups were emitted by females when a male instigated a reproductive attempt.
The physical structure of the isolation call of juvenile P. poliocephalus differed among individuals in terms of call length, fundamental frequency and bandwidth of the fundamental component of the call. These differences may reflect a form of ‘vocal signature’ that assists the mother in recognising and locating her young. It is suggested that vocal signals emitted by adult P. poliocephalus predominantly provide information about the arousal state of the emitter and occur in association with specific motor actions that enhance the meaning of the vocal signal.