Plecotus auritus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Vespertilionidae

Scientific Name: Plecotus auritus
Species Authority: Linnaeus, 1758
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Brown Big-eared Bat, Brown Long-eared Bat
French Oreillard Brun, Oreillard Roux
Spanish Orejudo Dorado
Taxonomic Notes: According to new taxonomy this species is endemic to Europe, from Ireland to the Urals (Spitzenberger et al. 2006). The Asian populations have been identified as separate species, P. ognevi and P. sacrimontis. Some Spanish populations were described as subspecies P. auritus begognae (Juste et al. 2004).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Hutson, A.M., Spitzenberger, F., Aulagnier, S., Coroiu, I., Karataş, A., Juste, J., Paunovic, M., Palmeirim, J. & Benda, P.
Reviewer(s): Vié, J.-C. & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
This species is endemic to Europe, where it is widespread and common, with no major threats.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Plecotus auritus is endemic to Europe, where it is widely distributed south of 65°N and west of the Urals and north of the Caucasus. In the south it is confined to higher elevations. It occurs on the British Isles and in Sardinia. Patchy distribution in Iberia, Italy and the Balkan Peninsula. In the Alps, maternity colonies are found up to 1,920 m asl, hibernacula up to 2,350 m asl (Horácek and Dulic 2004).
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Andorra; Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Ireland; Italy (Sardegna); Kazakhstan; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Moldova; Monaco; Montenegro; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation; San Marino; Serbia (Serbia); Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey; Ukraine; United Kingdom
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2350
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: A common species in central Europe, but rare in the Mediterranean. Summer colonies usually number 10-50 females, sometimes up to 100. In winter it is generally solitary, although it may occasionally be found in very small clusters (2-3 animals). Nursery colonies of up to 10 (K. Tsytsulina pers. comm.). There have been no recorded population declines throughout most of its range, but it is decreasing in Turkey (A. Karatas pers. comm.).
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It forages in the vicinity of the roost in deciduous and coniferous woodlands, along hedgerows, and in isolated trees in parks and gardens. It feeds mainly on moths and flies gleaned from foliage. In summer it roosts in colonies in buildings (attics, barns, churches, drainage channels), tree holes, and bat boxes. Solitary animals also roost in underground sites. In winter it hibernates in caves, mines, buildings and occasionally trees. A sedentary species, its longest recorded movement is 88 km (Gaisler et al. 2003).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Loss of broad-leaved forest and particularly of mature trees is a threat in parts of its Mediterranean range (Balkans, Portugal, Spain and Turkey). It is affected locally by remedial timber treatment and loss of roost sites.

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. It is included in Annex IV of EU Habitats and Species Directive, and there is some habitat protection through Natura 2000.

Maintenance of natural habitat, especially forests with mature trees is required.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.1. Forest - Boreal
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
7. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) -> 7.1. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) - Caves
suitability: Suitable  
7. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) -> 7.2. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) - Other Subterranean Habitats
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.5. Artificial/Terrestrial - Urban Areas
suitability: Suitable  
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]

Entwistle, A. C. 1999. Plecotus auritus. 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.

Gaisler, J., Hanák, V., Hanzal, V. and Jarský, V. 2003. Results of bat banding in the Czech and Slovak Republics, 1948-2000 (in Czech). Vespertilio 7: 3-61.

Horáček, I. and Dulic, B. 2004. Plecotus auritus Linnaeus, 1758 – Braunes Langohr. In: F. Krapp (ed.), Handbuch der Säugetiere Europas, Band 4: Fledertiere, Teil I: Chiroptera 2: Vespertilionidae 2, Molossidae, Nycteridae, pp. 953-999. AULA-Verlag, Wiesbaden, Germany.

IUCN. 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Juste, J., Ibáñez, C., Muñoz, J., Trujillo, D., Benda, P., Karataş, A. and Ruedi, M. 2004. Mitochondrial phylogeography of the long-eared bats (Plecotus) in the Mediterranean Palaearctic and Atlantic Islands. Molecular Pylogenetics and Evolution 31(3): 1114-1126.

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

Spitzenberger, F., Strelkov, P.P., Winkler, H. and Haring, E. 2006. A preliminary revision of the genus Plecotus (Chiroptera, Vespertilionidae) based on genetic and morphological results. Zoologica Scripta 35: 187-230.

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

Citation: Hutson, A.M., Spitzenberger, F., Aulagnier, S., Coroiu, I., Karataş, A., Juste, J., Paunovic, M., Palmeirim, J. & Benda, P. 2008. Plecotus auritus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T17596A7154745. . Downloaded on 30 November 2015.
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