Woodland specialists

Woodland specialists

While most UK bat species can be found in woodland, some bats are woodland specialists - they have a strong preference for roosting in trees and foraging in woodland.

Bechstein's bat

Bechstein's bats most frequently roost in old woodpecker nest holes. Records so far indicate that oak and ash are important trees for roosts of this species. In general, they prefer wet woodlands with small streams. Further information on Bechstein's bats.


Barbastelles roost in trees year round, usually in ancient or old growth deciduous woods with substantial understorey. Their roosts are chiefly found in splits or behind loose bark. The bats frequently move between roosts, so a large number of damaged and dead trees are normally present in favoured woodlands. Further information on barbastelles.

Natterer's bat

In summer, Natterer's bats generally roost in trees (both deciduous and coniferous), in buildings or bat boxes close to their feeding habitats. These habitats may include broad-leaved woodland, hedgerows and treelines along agricultural land - as well as conifer plantations of, for example, Corsican and Scots pine. Further information on Natterer's bats.


Noctules are primarily tree dwellers and live mainly in rot holes and woodpecker holes. A roost of breeding females can be particularly noisy on a hot summer's day. In late summer, single males establish mating roosts in tree holes. Further information on noctules.

Lesser horseshoe bat

Lesser horseshoe bats seldom roost within woodland, but they enter wooded habitats to forage. Their manoeuvrable flight allows them to twist and turn between the trees and within dense vegetation, catching small moths and midges as they go. Further information on lesser horseshoe bats.

Brown long-eared bat

Brown long-eared bats mainly roost in tree holes, buildings and bat boxes during the summer. Roosts in trees may be close to the ground and the immediate surroundings of the roost can be more cluttered with vegetation than for some other bat species. Brown long-eared bats prefer to forage in deciduous woodland where they glean insects from leaves and bark. They have a slow, fluttery mode of flight. Further information on brown long-eared bats.

Bats and woodland management - further reading

Next: How bats use woodland