Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Mammalia / Chiroptera / Vespertilionidae / Eptesicus / Species
Eptesicus nilssoni - Northern bat (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)








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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Northern serotine
  • Sérotine de Nilsson (France)
  • Nordfledermaus (German)
  • Murciélago de huerta nortello (Spain)

Alternative species names (the second part of the binomial species names): [Genus] atratus; [Genus] centralasiaticus; [Genus] gobiensis; [Genus] japonensis; [Genus] kashgaricus; [Genus] parvus; [Genus] propinquus; (B141).

Names for new-borns / juveniles

Names for males --
Names for females --

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General Appearance


Similar Species

Other bats. Differentiated by:
  • Simple nose shape (no horseshoe)
  • Ears well separated from one another at base
  • Post-calcarial lobe present on membrane
  • Forearm 37-44mm, fur dark chestnut and shaggy (hairs on back gold-tipped) and free tail tip to 2-3mm beyond membrane
  • (B167)

Very similar to Eptesicus serotinus - Serotine, but smaller, with tail extending only 2-3 not 5mm or more beyond membrane, and fur warmer dark chestnut brown, gold tipped and contrasting with paler underfur (B142, B167).

Sexual Dimorphism --

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Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B51, B141, B142, B143, B147, B167

Husbandry references:

(UK Contacts)

(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

  • --

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

  • Insectivorous bats (Microchiroptera)

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

  • Insectivorous bats (Microchiroptera)

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Husbandry Information


Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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Appearance / Morphology

Measurement & Weight

Length --
Height --
Adult weight General 8-18g (B147).
Male --
Female --
New-born weight --
Growth rate --

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General --
Dentition (Teeth) --
Eyes --

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Legs and Tracks

Forearm length: 37-44mm (B167).

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Tip protrudes from membrane by 3-4mm (B142, B167).

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Coat / Pelage

Adult Female Long, shaggy coat.
  • Dorsal: dark brown, with irregular golden or light-yellow buff tipping. Sharply divided along side of neck from:
  • Ventral: yellowish brown - base dark, tips pale
  • Face: and ears blackish.
  • Membranes: blackish

(B142, B167).

Variations (If present) --
Moult --
New-born / Juvenile --

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Neonate (New-born) Characteristics


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Detailed Anatomy Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in Wildpro)


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Life Stages / Natural Diet / Physiology

Reproductive Stages

Breeding Season --
Oestrus / Ovulation --
Gestation / Pregnancy --
Parturition / Birth --
Neonatal development --
Litter size --
Time between Litters / Litters per year --
Lactation / Milk Production --
Sexual Maturity
  • May be 1-3 years (B147).
Longevity --

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Natural Diet

Flying insects:
  • Small dipterans, also moths, dung-beetles, insects flying over water.


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Detailed Physiology Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in Wildpro)

Temperature --
Pulse --
Respiration --
Faeces --
Haematology / Biochemistry --
Chromosomes --
Other --

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Feeding Behaviour

  • Feeds in open areas: along woodland edges, over lakes and rives, near street lamps.
  • Catches flying insects on the wing.


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Parental Behaviour


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Social Behaviour / Territoriality

  • Females defend small feeding territory (even against bats from the same nursery colony): use chases and shrill calls.
  • Summer: nursery colonies formed, containing 10-80adult females.
  • Stable age-related dominance relationships within nursery colonies.
  • Young females are recruited into own natal colony.
  • Young males disperse in first year.
  • Adult male roost alone during summer.
  • Winter: single or groups of 2-4 bats


Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

Promiscuous (B142).

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Predation in Wild


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Activity Patterns

Circadian --

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Habitat and Range

General Habitat Type

  • Forest and woodland.
  • Farms and villages: strongly associated with areas of human habitation in northern parts of range.
  • Associated with uplands in southern parts of range; may be seen to 2000m.

(B142, B143)

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Nests / Burrows / Shelters

  • Roosts in treeholes and buildings: most colonies found in houses.
  • Occasionally roosts between boulders on ground in caves.
  • Winter: mainly in houses and cellars

(B142, B143)

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Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

  • Eastern France through central Europe and Scandinavia (reaching the Arctic circle), further east to Siberia, Tibet, Japan, northern India (B51, B142, B143, B147).


  • Non-migratory. Longest recorded movement 115km (B143).
Occasional and Accidental
  • Rarely vagrant to Britain and Ireland; most likely to be seen in winter (B142).


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Intraspecific variation

Uncertain: two to six subspecies recognised by different authors. In Europe only Eptesicus nilssonii nilssonii (B143).

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -

Generally widespread and common across range with increasing population in some areas (B143).

General Legislation
  • Bern Convention, Appendix II
  • Bonn Convention, Appendix II.
  • EU Habitats and Species Directive, Annex IV


CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
  • Possible persecution by owners of houses used as roosts (B143).
Captive Populations  

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