Soprano Pipistrelle - Pipistrellus pygmaeus


It was recently discovered that there are actually three species of pipistrelle bat formerly grouped together as Pipistrellus pipistrellus. All three (Common, Soprano and Nathusius) are very similar but differences in the frequency of the echolocation calls and genetic differences distinguish them. P. pipistrellus echolocates at 45 kHz, and P. pygmaeus at 55 kHz. Research into behavioural and ecological differences between the two species is currently underway. The pipistrelles are Britain's smallest bats, they are generally brown in colour, and have fast 'jerky' flight. Wingspan: 18 to 24 cm. Head-body length: 3.5 to 4.5 cm. Weight 3 to 8 g. Where an image appears in a red box it is thought to be this species, but has not been subject to the detailed examination necessary to confirm the identity.


Identification difficulty

Pipistrelles roost in trees and under external features of buildings, such as hanging tiles and soffits. They feed along woodland edges, in open woodland, suburban gardens, marshes and over water. Hibernation occurs in crevices in buildings and trees as well as in bat boxes.

When to see it

Pipistrelles are active between March and November.

Life History

An individual can eat up to 3000 insects a night. Mating generally takes place in autumn at mating roosts, females then congregate in maternity roosts between May and August. One young is usually produced between June and mid July, which will start to fly around three weeks later.

UK Status

Widespread and fairly frequent in England.

VC55 Status

Common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map