One advantage with looking for bats and not birds is that I can usually rely on local people more. While they probably won’t be able to tell you to find your much sought after Tapaculo or Laughingthrush, they will know about bat caves, if there are any. And I’ve visited many caves, known only to locals that people were kind enough to guide me to. The language barrier can be an issue but it’s always an interesting experience, during which I end up learning a lot about local culture, and their perception of bats in particular.
Bat caves don’t always harbour rare species but bat caves always have bats. And I’ve never been disappointed by a bat cave, despite visiting dozens, I’ve almost always managed to find a new species in them.
When it comes to finding non-cave roosting bats, that’s where the real challenge lies… When they echolocate, I can hope to record them at night and then hope to identify them based on those calls. However, this is highly limited by the references available for the identification process.
For fruit bats in the Old World, usually people would know Flying Fox roosts and walks at night near fruiting trees got me a number of other species as well.
In some cases, published scientific papers included location of study sites that I was able to visit again. And in really rare cases, previous trip reports proved reliable enough to be used to find some good locations to find bats.
In certain regions, I had to rely on my instincts, and satellite views to find areas that had good potential. And then I had to cross my fingers! Results have been surprisingly good for this method.