Noctule Bat – Nyctalus noctula
Habitat: Broadleaved Woodlands, Open Areas, Wetlands, Grasslands
Description: A large bat with ginger fur and rounded ears.
Size: Britain’s largest bat (except the greater mouse-eared bat, which only has one known individual)
Origin & Distribution: Native. Widely distributed throughout England and Wales, although absent in uplands and poorly wooded areas. They can be found in south-west Scotland (Dumfries and Galloway), with scattered records mainly south of the central belt. Absent from Northern Ireland. Strongly associated with tree roosts, resulting in a distribution which closely matches the distribution of broadleaved woodlands.
Diet: Wide variety of insect prey including, crickets, dung beetles, moths, and non-biting midges.
General Ecology: A large, fast-flying bat capable of commuting long distances. They are strongly associated with tree-hole roosts, although can occasionally be found in buildings. Generally, it is the first bat to emerge in the evening, flying high and straight towards foraging areas. These are preferentially open areas, woodlands, wetlands, or grasslands.
Conservation Status: The noctule bat is registered as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, both globally and in Great Britain. They are one of the primary species killed by wind turbines, but it is unclear whether the scale of casualties is high enough to impact local populations.
Excluding the greater mouse-eared bat, for which there is only one known individual in the UK, the noctule bat is the largest British bat. They have long narrow wings and a broad muzzle. The fur is a bright ginger colour which appears darker just after the moult. Ears are rounded, and the tragus mushroom shaped. The noctule bat has a distinctly musky smell, particularly the breeding males.
- Muzzle: Projecting part of face, including nose and mouth.
- Tragus: Piece of skin near the ear canal.
Range: 22-47 kHz
Most energy: 22-27 kHz
Average duration: 11.5-13.8 m
Loud, characteristic calls, however, some characteristics overlap with Eptesicus serotinus (serotine bat) and Nyctalus leisleri (Leisler’s bat).