Visual Clues for Noctule and Serotine Bats
You can also use visual clues to help identify the bat.
Noctule bats have long but very narrow wings that look quite pointed. They fly high, out in the open usually in fairly straight lines or in big, wide arcs making steep dives to catch prey in the air. The wings beat deeply and the flight is very fast.
The rhythm of the noctule call reflects the way they fly. It is regular when they are making wide arcs or straight lines, but then suddenly becomes erratic as steep dives are made.
Serotine bats often look heavier and darker. They don’t tend to fly as high up which makes them look bigger and their wings are broad. Their wing beats are much more fluttery and shallow and their flight is not as fast. They are much more likely to be making smaller, tighter turns popping in and out of tree cover.
As the serotine tends to make more turns, the rhythm can often be erratic but with a ‘funky’ pattern. Serotines can even land on the ground or on dung to take big insects like beetles.
Be aware that the serotine’s distribution is limited in the UK. It mainly occurs in the south of England. However records have been received from as far north as Derbyshire and as far West as Cardiff.
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