Species and survey coverage
The core surveys in the National Bat Monitoring Programme are:
- Field Survey (for noctule, serotine, common pipistrelle and soprano pipistrelle)
- Waterways Survey (Daubenton's bat)
- Hibernation Survey (greater horseshoe bat, lesser horseshoe bat, Daubenton’s bat, Natterer’s bat, whiskered / Brandt’s bat and brown long-eared bat)
- Roost Counts (greater horseshoe bat, lesser horseshoe bat, common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle, Natterer’s bat, brown long-eared bat and serotine)
These surveys currently provide sufficient data to produce population trends for 11 of the UK’s bat species. More details of the trends for each species can be found here.
Some species are monitored by using more than one of the survey methods. As a general rule, trends from the Field Survey and Waterway survey are considered most robust at present, followed by the Hibernation Survey and then the Roost Counts. More details on the robustness of surveys can be found here.
The table below shows which survey provide data for each of the UK's bat species.
|Species||Roost Counts||Field & Waterway Surveys||Hibernation Survey|
|Greater horseshoe bat|
|Lesser horseshoe bat|
|Brown long-eared bat|
|Greater mouse eared bat||+|
|Grey long-eared bat|
= enough data collected for trend. + = recorded, not enough data for trend
Information on distribution and abundance is available for some of the remaining species. The Woodland Survey currently focuses on monitoring presence of barbastelle in protected sites for this species. The Nathusius' pipistrelle survey is currently focusing on collecting distribution data for this species. In 2012 we have also been working on identifying new roosts for grey long-eared bat.
Trends are not produced within the NBMP for the remaining species: Bechstein's bat, greater mouse-eared bat, Alcathoe bat and Leisler's bat but further information on each of these species is provided in the following paragraphs.
This rare species, which is associated with semi-natural woodlands, is difficult to survey using standard methods as it produces low intensity echolocation calls which are difficult to pick up on a bat detector, and spends much of its time foraging high up in the canopy.
The Bechstein's bat Project, which ran from 2007-2011, used survey techniques specifically designed for Bechstein's bats to establish baseline distribution data on this species from woodlands in southern England and South Wales, and to gather information to inform future conservation policy and woodland management.
Full details of the project, results and final report can be found on the Bechstein's bat Project pages.
This species was declared extinct in the UK in 1990. However, a single juvenile male was found during a Hibernation Survey in southern England in winter 2002/2003 and has been recorded annually ever since.
The latest addition to the UK bat fauna, this species was first described in 2001 (von Helversen et al. 2001) and confirmed as a resident species in the UK in 2010 (Jan et. al 2010). It is very similar in appearance to the whiskered and Brandt's bat species and is likely to have been overlooked in the past. It is not currently recorded as a separate species in the Hibernation Survey, although future recording of this species separately will be encouraged.
This species is widespread but generally uncommon in Great Britain. It is most common in Ireland, a stronghold for this species. It is a mobile species and bats move between roosts regularly; it is primarily a woodland species, but will also use buildings for roosting, although few building roosts are known.
It is not included in the Field Survey, although the use of broadband bat detectors and recording devices on this survey could allow monitoring of this species depending on encounter rates.
A modification of the Field Survey for Northern Ireland was introduced in 2008 to allow for monitoring of Leisler's bats instead of the noctule and serotine usually monitored by this survey, as they are not found in Ireland. Only two sites have been surveyed to date in Northern Ireland using this technique, however, so more sites would be needed to be monitored using this method before any analysis could be completed on the data.
Click here for the Leisler's bat factsheet.
von Helversen O., Heller K.-G., Mayer F., Nemeth A., Volleth M. & Gombkoto. 2001. Cryptic mammalian species: a new species of whiskered bat (Myotis alcathoe n. sp.) in Europe. Naturwissenschaften 88:217-233.
Jan C.M.I., Frith K., Glover A.M., Butlin R.K., Scott C.D., Greenaway F., Ruedi M.; Frantz A.C., Dawson, D.A.; Altringham, J.D. 2010. Myotis alcathoe confirmed in the UK from mitrochondrial and microsatellite DNA. Acta Chiropterologica 12: 471-483.
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