Bat of the Month – Vol. 1: the Noctule bat (Nyctalus noctula)
The Noctule bat, along with the Serotine bat, is one of largest species found in the UK.
Noctules can be identified by their sleek, rufous-brown dorsal colouration, lighter and duller ventral fur, and dark exposed skin. The species features broad, brown ears accompanied by a distinctive ‘mushroom-shaped’ tragus.
Noctules are often the first bat to emerge from their roosts come evening, and can occasionally be seen before sunset. Call frequency ranges between 20 - 45 kHz at a peak frequency of 25 kHz (although sources vary slightly).
The species is also characterised by its long narrow wings and fast, direct flight pattern. The bat will utilise high open spaces, using a series of steep dives to pursue insect prey, and can reach speeds of up to 50 kph!