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The Bats of Birmingham and the Black Country
The West Midlands is an interesting area for UK bat species as we are at an important cross over point geographically. The ranges of the rarer and more southerly UK species tail off in the Midlands and so we sometimes get some interesting bats in the south of the region. The same is true of the east/west UK split and we sometimes get (larger) bats which are more frequently seen in the eastern counties of England. Even if the Birmingham and Black Country area is quite urban we still have bats and sometimes these cross over species turn up!
This means that you have to be on your toes and expect the unexpected when identifying the bats in our area.
Common Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) roosts are often found in buildings on the edge of foraging areas, typically open space, green wedges or agricultural land.
When foraging, these bats may range over 2.5km from their roost and typically feed on midges, caddisfly, mosquitos, mayflies, lacewing and small moths.
Noctule (Nyctalus noctula) are one of Britain’s largest bats (the size of a swift) with narrow wings, and broad blunt ears.
They are known to often feed above water, and also above trees and woodland, usually taking beetles but also crickets and moths.
They are heavily reliant on tree roosts for hibernation, breeding and summer roosting. Noctules will use quite large holes and cracks high up in trees - an old woodpecker hole is idea.
Bat workers (professionals, volunteers/bat group members) use a range of methods to identify bats. Such as bat detectors, MP3 recordings and computer analysis and sometimes sightings or identification in the hand. But even if you are not at all sure what species you have seen we are always very pleased to have a record of a “bat” for example seen flying in a garden or park.
UK bats are all included as European Protected species and are protected by UK and European legislation; records help us find out more about where bats are in the area and protect their summer roosts, hibernation roosts and feeding areas. Bat numbers of all species have been in decline for many years, and so any thing we can do to protect them and where they live may be of significant help.
We have important hibernation places in the Dudley area but more widely our canal tunnels, parks and woodlands even our homes and gardens support bats at all times of the year.
Of the 16 UK breeding species we have records for 10 (over the last 20 years) in the Birmingham and Black Country area:
Brown Long Eared
Lesser Horseshoe bat
We also might have:
To find out more about the bat group go to
To find out more about bats in general in the UK, e.g. the different species and things you can do to increase our knowledge of their amazing life styles go to www.bats.org.uk the website of the Bat Conservation Trust
Birmingham and Black Country Bat Group