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Noctule trends for Great Britain

Nyctalus noctula

Species factsheetDistribution and abundance

GB-level population trends for noctule from the Field Survey are shown on this page.

Population trends are also produced for noctule at a country-level for England. There are insufficient data to calculate a population trend for this species in Wales. This species is only rarely recorded in Scotland, therefore there are insufficient data to calculate a trend for Scotland.

Field Survey

GB index of noctule population from Field Surveys

Noctule Field Survey GB 2016

Note: The graph above shows the unsmoothed index value for each year (green crosses), the smoothed trend (solid line) and 95% confidence intervals (dotted lines). The smoothed trend for 2016 is shown as a dashed line to indicate that it is provisional.

The smoothed index is currently 27.6% above the 1999 base year value, equivalent to an annual increase of 1.5%. The trend has fluctuated considerably since the start of monitoring. The smoothed index increased from 1999 to a peak in 2008, at which point it was significantly higher than the baseline year. Between 2008-2014 the smoothed index fell steadily, however in recent years it has once again begun to increase although it is not yet significantly higher than the baseline year. Overall there has been no significant change in the smoothed index since the baseline year.

Data from 626 sites contribute to the overall trend.

Summary of survey results

The trend from the Field Survey shows no significant change in the smoothed index since the baseline year. The population of noctule in Great Britain is considered to have been stable over the period 1999-2016.


Distribution and abundance

Noctule is relatively common and widespread in England, Wales, and southern Scotland. It is absent from Northern Ireland

Population estimate 

The population estimates are considered to be poor and should be treated with caution. Estimates are based on limited population data and are extrapolated from surveys of only part of the population

Country UK England Wales Scotland N.Ireland
Number 50,000  45,000 4,750  250  does not occur
 Source  Harris et al. 1995 Harris et al. 1995  Harris et al. 1995  Harris et al. 1995   



Harris S., Morris, P., Wray, S. & Yalden, D. (1995) A review of British mammals: population estimates and conservation status of British mammals other than cetaceans. JNCC, Peterborough.

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Listen to how noctule sounds on a bat detector 


Current distribution of noctule in the UK

(Map taken from 3rd Report under Article 17 on implementation of the Habitats Directive in the UK, JNCC 2013)

Noctule distribution



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