Need help with a bat?

Follow our advice

or call us on 0345 1300 228

Species coverage

The core surveys in the National Bat Monitoring Programme are:

  • Field Survey (noctule, serotine, common pipistrelle and soprano pipistrelle)
  • Waterway 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)

Species coverage

These surveys currently provide sufficient data to produce GB-level population trends for 11 of the UK's 17 resident bat species, and country-level trends for 11 species in England, three species in Scotland and seven species in Wales. 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 surveys provide data for each of the UK's bat species.

Species Roost Count Field / Waterway Survey Hibernation Survey
Greater horseshoe bat  
Lesser horseshoe bat     
Common pipistrelle  
Soprano pipistrelle     +
Daubenton's bat    
Natterer's bat    
Whiskered/Brandt's bat      
Brown long-eared bat      
Bechstein's bat    
Alcathoe bat      
Nathusius' pipistrelle    
Leisler's bat   +  (NI only)  
Grey long-eared bat  +    

  = enough data collected for trend. + = recorded, but insufficient data to produce trend

Trends are not produced within the NBMP for the remaining GB resident species: Bechstein's bat, Alcathoe bat,  Nathusius' pipistrelle, Leisler's bat or barbastelle. In addition to these resident species a single male greater mouse-eared bat is consistently recorded during hibernation in South East England.

Information on the distribution of certain species is available from the Woodland Survey (barbastelle), National Nathusius' Pipistrelle Project and Bechstein's Bat Project (discontinued).

Bechstein's bat

Bechstein's bat (Hugh Clark)This rare species is restricted to southern England and southern Wales. It is associated with semi-natural woodlands and 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 it 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 in order 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. An article on the project and follow-on work was published in British Wildlife in 2013 (Barlow et al. 2013)

Click here for the Bechstein's bat factsheet. 


Greater mouse-eared batGreater mouse-eared bat (Roger Jones)

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.


Alcathoe bat

Alcathoe bat (Cyril Schönbächler)

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 etal 2010). It is rare in the UK, with records confirmed in North Yorkshire, Sussex, Surrey and Kent. It is very similar in appearance to the whiskered and Brandt's bat 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.


Leisler's bat

Leisler's bat (Hugh Clark)This species is uncommon but widespread throughout England, Wales and Scotland. It is more abundant in Northern Ireland, as  Ireland is a stronghold for the 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 monitored by this survey in Great Britain, as these species are not found in Ireland. Three sites in Northern Ireland have been surveyed using this modified methodology to date. A larger sample size is required before these data can be used to calculate species population trends.

Click here for the Leisler's bat factsheet. 



Barlow K., Miller H., Hill D., Greenaway F., Gilmour L. & Merrett D. 2013. New frontiers in our understanding of Bechstein’s Bat in the UK. British Wildlife 24: 401-407

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.


Continue to Survey Coverage

Back to Report home page; Contents page


You should follow us
Bookmark and Share

Subscribe today to receive the latest on bats and BCT direct to your inbox.

Bat Helpline

0345 1300 228