Nyctalus noctula 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Vespertilionidae

Scientific Name: Nyctalus noctula (Schreber, 1774)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Noctule
French Noctule commune
Spanish Murciélago Nóctulo Común, Nóctulo Mediano
Taxonomic Notes: Nyctalus furvus (Japan) and N. plancyi (eastern China and Taiwan) are now considered as separate species (Simmons 2005). Nyctalus labiatus, although still generally regarded as a subspecies of N. noctula, is morphologically very distinct and is regarded by G. Csorba (unpublished) as a separate species. Records of N. noctula from the Himalayas and the Indomalayan Region are referable either to N. labiatus or N. plancyi.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-04-25
Assessor(s): Csorba, G. & Hutson, A.M.
Reviewer(s): Racey, P.A.
Contributor(s): Bates, P., Stubbe, M., Aulagnier, S. & Spitzenberger, F.
The species is widespread and abundant, and although there may have been declines in some areas, it is not believed that these approach the threshold for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (30% in 10 years or 3 generations). Consequently it is assessed as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Noctule (Nyctalus noctula) has a wide Palaearctic distribution, including Europe and southern Scandinavia to the Urals and Caucasus; Turkey to Israel and Oman; western Turkmenistan, western Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan to south-west Siberia and perhaps the Himalayas. Its occurrence in North Africa is questionable (see below), and a record from Mozambique is considered dubious. With few exceptions, maternity colonies are confined to northeastern Europe (Strelkov 1997a, 1997b; Görföl et al. 2009). It has been found at 1,900 m asl in the western Alps during migration (Aellen 1962 in Gebhard and Bogdanowicz 2004).

There is no authenticated record of any species of Nyctalus from Thailand, Viet Nam and Malaysia (G. Csorba, pers. comm.). The only record of N. noctula from Myanmar (Bates et al. 2000) is referable to N. labiatus.

"It is possible that N. noctula occurs in Africa but this needs confirmation. A record from Algeria (two specimens collected from a hollow tree in Cheliff plain) was published by Loche (1858), but these specimens were lost with the rest of Loche's collection. According to Palmeirim (1982), it is possible that these specimens belonged to N. lasiopterus, a species which does occur in North Africa and which was considered to be conspecific with N. noctula by earlier zoologists. There are also some doubts as to the place of origin of some specimens of N. noctula in the BMNH (Palmeirim 1982) and in the RMNH (Jentink 1888). One of these was mentioned by Dobson (1878) as having been bought in Algiers. Kowalski and Rzebik-Kowalska (1991) suggest that all of them were bought from professional dealers, which means that their localities may be unreliable" (M. Happold pers. comm. 2007).
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Andorra; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; China; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Holy See (Vatican City State); Hungary; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Italy; Kazakhstan; Latvia; Lebanon; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Malta; Monaco; Montenegro; Morocco; Myanmar; Netherlands; Norway; Oman; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation; San Marino; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey; Ukraine; United Kingdom
Regionally extinct:
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1900
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:A widespread species, relatively common throughout much of its range.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Noctule (Nyctalus noctula) forages over wetland, woodland and pasture, feeding on larger moths, beetles and flies. Summer colonies are in tree holes, sometimes in buildings. Winter hibernacula are in rock crevices, caves, occasionally artificial structures. Maternity colonies number 20-50 females (occasionally up to 100), but winter groups in rock crevices, caves and artificial structures can be large, to 10,000 in one instance (Germany) (Harrje 1994, Mayer et al. 2002). Tree holes and bat boxes are also used as wintering sites. Seasonal migrations between breeding area and hibernation range in central and southwest Europe normally cover distances of less than 1,000 km. The longest recorded movements is 1,546 km (Hutterer et al. 2005).
Generation Length (years):4.2
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No major threats at present, although loss of old trees with holes for roosting is a problem in some range states.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is protected by national legislation in most range states. There are also international legal obligations for its protection through the Bonn Convention (Eurobats) and Bern Convention, in parts of its range where these apply. It is included in Annex IV of EU Habitats and Species Directive, and there is some habitat protection through Natura 2000. The species occurs in a number of protected areas. No specific conservation actions are known.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
7. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) -> 7.1. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) - Caves
7. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) -> 7.2. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) - Other Subterranean Habitats
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Bates, P. J. J., Nwe, T. Pearch, M. J., Khin, M. S., Si Si, H. B. and Tun, T. 2000. A review of bat research in Myanmar (Burma) and results of a recent survey. Acta Chiropterologica 2(1): 53-82.

Bogdanowicz, W. 1999. Nyctalus noctula. In: A. J. Mitchell-Jones, G. Amori, W. Bogdanowicz, B. Kryštufek, P. J. H. Reijnders, F. Spitzenberger, M. Stubbe, J. B. M. Thissen, V. Vohralík, and J. Zima (eds), The Atlas of European Mammals, Academic Press, London, UK.

Dobson, G. E. 1878. Catalogue of the Chiroptera in the British Museum. pp. 567 pp.. Trustees of the British Museum, London, UK.

Gebhard, J. and Bogdanowicz, W. 2004. Nyctalus noctula (Schreber, 1774) – Großer Abensegler. In: F. Krapp (ed.), Handbuch der Säugetiere Europas, pp. 607-694.

Görföl, T., Dombi, I., Boldogh, S. and Estók, P. 2009. Going further south: new data on the breeding area of Nyctalus noctula (Schreber, 1774) in Central Europe. Hystrix 20.(1): 37-44.

Harrje, C. 1994. Fledermaus-Massenwinterquartier in der Levensauer Kanalhochbrücke bei Kiel. Nyctalus 5: 274-276.

Hayman, R. W. and Hill, J. E. 1971. Order Chiroptera. In: J. Meester and H. W. Setzer (eds), The Mammals of Africa: An Identification Manual, pp. 73. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C., USA.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-2. Available at: (Accessed: 04 September 2016).

Jentink, F. A. 1888. Catalogue Systématique des Mammifères (Rongeurs, Insectivores, Cheiroptères, Édentés et Marsupiaux). In: H. Schlegel and F. A. Jentink (eds), Revue Méthodique et Critique des Collections, E. J. Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Kowalski, K. and Rzebik-Kowalska, B. 1991. Mammals of Algeria. Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wroclaw, Poland.

Loche, C. 1858. Mammifères. Paris, France.

Mayer, F., Petit, E. and Helversen, O. 2002. Genetische Strukturierung von Populationen des Abendseglers (Nyctalus noctula) in Europa. In: A. Meschede, K. G., Heller and P. Boye (eds), Ökologie, Wanderungen und Genetik von Fledermäusen in Wäldern - Untersuchungen als Grundlage für den Fledermausschutz.- Schriftenr, pp. 267-278. Landschaftspfl. U, Naturschutz, Münster, Germany.

Pacifici, M., Santini, L., Di Marco, M., Baisero, D., Francucci, L., Grottolo Marasini, G., Visconti, P. and Rondinini, C. 2013. Generation length for mammals. Nature Conservation 5: 87–94.

Palmeirim, J. M. 1982. On the presence of Nyctalus lasiopterus in North Africa (Mammalia: Chiroptera). Mammalia 46: 401-403.

Samiya R., Dawaa, N., Stubbe, M., Stubbe, A., Haideke, D., Sumiya, D. and Munkhtogtokh, O. 1993. New Findings of Mammals in Western Mongolia. Natural Conditions and Biological Resources in Western Mongol, and its adjacent countries. Review of Report.

Schober, W. and Grimmberger, E. 1998. Die Fledermause Europas. Kosmos Naturfuhrer, Stuttgart.

Spitzenberger F. 2002. Die Säugetierfauna Österreichs. Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft. Umwelt und Wasserwirtschaft, Band.

Strelkov, P. P. 1969. Migratory and stationary bats (Chiroptera) of the European part of the Soviet Union. Acta Zoologica Cracoviensia 14: 393-439.

Strelkov, P. P. 1997. Breeding area and its position in range of migratory bat species (Chiroptera, Vespertilionidae) in East Europa and adjacent countries. Communication 1. Zoologicheskii Zhurnal 76: 1073-1082.

Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, D.M. 1993. Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, D.M. 2005. Mammal Species of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Citation: Csorba, G. & Hutson, A.M. 2016. Nyctalus noctula. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T14920A22015682. . Downloaded on 21 June 2018.
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