Grey Long-Eared Bat – Plecotus austriacus
Habitat: Meadow, Wet Pasture, Woodland, Grassland
Description: A cryptic species that is very similar in appearance to the brown long-eared bat.
Origin & Distribution: Native. Very few confirmed records most of which are from areas close to the coast in lowland areas of southern England and the Isle of Wight. They are absent from Scotland and Northern Ireland. The are regarded as absent from Wales, however, they has been a single genetic record in Pembrokeshire which could not be fully confirmed.
Diet: Mostly preys on moths.
General Ecology: No hibernation sites have been identified. Emerge late and feed mainly on moths, foraging over meadows and along woodland edges. Colony home ranges can vary between locations (15-35 km2), which may be affected by the quality of foraging habitat.
Breeding: All maternity roost inn Great Britain are in the loft spaces of residential buildings. Maternity colonies are generally small.
Conservation Status: Registered as Endangered in Great Britain and England and as Least Concern globally on the IUCN Red List. Both this species population and habitat are in decline. The loss of wet and species-rich meadows is the predominant cause of population decline of this species. Other reasons include loss of roosts due to urbanisation and barn conversions, road casualties, and artificial night lighting.
The grey long-eared bat is very similar in morphology (physical appearance) and flight pattern to the brown long-eared bat. However, they have a darker face and muzzle, wider tragus, and shorter thumbs. Droppings can only be identified using genetic analysis.
- Muzzle: Projecting part of face, including nose and mouth.
- Tragus: Piece of skin near the ear canal.
Range: 18-45 kHz
Most energy: 28 kHz
Average duration: 5.8 ms
Likely to be confused with Plecotus auratus (brown long-eared bat) and Barbastella barbastellus (Barbastelle Bat).