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Atlas der Säugetiere Nordrhein-Westfalens

AG Säugetierkunde in NRW

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Großer Abendsegler

Common noctule

Rote Liste NRW:

Nyctalus noctula




Foto: Jan Ole Kriegs
The Common Noctule is one of the large bat species in NRW (weight up to 30g; wingspan ca. 25-30 cm). Characteristic are the red-brown, smooth fur and the short round ears with their mushroom-shaped tragus. Common Noctules emerge early — at the first start of dusk — to commence the hunt for larger insects in the open airspace. Thus they can regularly still be observed during good light conditions. Hunting Common Noctules can usually be recognized as this species merely based on the size and their flight behaviour. The identification can be determined by means of the echolocation calls recorded with a bat detector. However, animals that hunt in low and structured terrain with woodlots present can be sometimes confused with Leisler′s Bat. Day roosts of the Common Noctule are usually tree cavities; they rarely roost in buildings being used. The high flying and migrating Common Noctule, among the native bat species, belongs to the species most strongly threatened by the collision with wind turbines. Here the animals don′t die from the direct impact of the rotor blades, but the nearby passing flight is sufficient. By the sudden change of pressure conditions in the vicinity of the fast turning rotors, the lungs and other body tissues are destroyed (barotrauma).

Common Noctules occur in NRW during the whole year; however, the animals observed in summer are usually males for these stay in NRW all year long. From the Rhineland, there were only six nursery colonies of the species reported (as of 2013). The vast majority of female Common Noctules, which were recorded in NRW, flies to these colonies only after the weaning of their young, and they subsequently mate with the males waiting here. After hibernation in spring, the Common Noctules females in NRW leave this region and migrate to eastern Germany, Poland, or the Baltic where the actual nursery colonies of the species are located. Hibernating populations of the species, which in NRW are located almost exclusively in the climatically milder, lower elevations of the state, can include several hundred animals. In longer lasting, strong frost periods or in years in which it stays very cold in spring, Common Noctules can freeze to death in their hibernacula. Prior to felling events in winter the respective trees with cavities should be checked for the possible stocking with bats to thus avoid the losses among Common Noctules. During frost periods, Common Noctule groups call attention to themselves through (occasionally) chatter of single awake individuals.


Holger Meinig und Henning Vierhaus


Meinig H, Vierhaus H (2023): Großer Abendsegler (Nyctalus noctula).In: AG Säugetierkunde NRW — Online-Atlas of the mammals of North Rhine-Westphalia. Downloaded from saeugeratlas-nrw.lwl.org on 2023/03/26



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