Brown Long-Eared Bat – Plecotus auritus
Habitat: Deciduous Woodland, Broadleaved Woodland, Mixed Woodland.
Description: Extremely long eared species of bat.
Origin & Distribution: Native. Widespread across the UK with little evidence of a change in distribution over time. Distributions appear patchier in Scotland and Northern Ireland, however, this could be due to a reduced recording effort in these countries.
Diet: Preys largely on moths, beetles, and other large insects. Will take hunt on the wing (hawker) and feed off the ground (gleaning). The latter is largely due to their ability to hover and use slow horizontal flight.
General Ecology: Most summer roosts are in buildings such as barns, churches, and large roof spaces in dwelling houses. Also make extensive use od tree roosts, but these are often under-recorded due to them being difficult to locate. One of the most encountered bat species in bat boxes. Little is known about their hibernation sites, but they can occasionally be found in underground sites or in fallen/felled trees. Caught regularly at swarming sites, with two peak swarming activity periods: August to October and February to April.
Breeding: Maternal colonies are generally small.
Conservation Status: Registered as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List both globally and in Great Britain. Increased availability of broadleaved woodlands and bat boxes have helped these species in the UK. However, change in prey abundance, removal of dense forest understory, barn conversions and urban development have likely negatively impacted them.
The brown long-eared bat has extremely long ears which are not joined at the base. They are unlikely to be confused with other bat species, except the extremely rare grey long-eared bat (Plecotus austriacus), from which genetic analysis is required. Their droppings have a twisted appearance. They have quite acoustic calls making them difficult to detect acoustically.
Range: 27-56 kHz
Most energy: 35 kHz
Average duration: 2.5 ms
Easily confused with the rarer grey long-eared bat (Plecotus austriacus), and potentially Barbastella barbastellus (Barbastelle bat) and Myotis species.