Quick facts

Common name: soprano pipistrelle

Scientific name: Pipistrellus pygmaeus

Family: Vespertilionidae

Habitat: woodland, parks and gardens

Diet: flies, moths, midges, mosquitos

Predators: birds of prey and domestic cats

Origin: native

What do soprano pipistrelle bats look like?

The soprano pipistrelle is small in size, with brown fur, black wings and a black face.

Not to be confused with: the common pipistrelle. They are almost identical in appearance, but the soprano is slightly smaller. The most reliable way to distinguish the species is by the frequency of their echolocation calls.

What do soprano pipistrelle bats eat?

These bats enjoy a diet of small flies, moths, midges and mosquitoes. They often hunt along wooded rivers and over water, catching prey in mid-flight and eating on the wing.

Did you know?

A single soprano pipistrelle can eat up to 3,000 insects in one night.

Soprano pipistrelle bat with young at roost.

Credit: Dietmar Nill / naturepl.com

How do soprano pipistrelle bats breed?

The mating period for the soprano pipistrelle takes place from late summer to early autumn. Males will attempt to attract a female mate by singing and flying around their roost. The following spring females will form colonies and a single pup is usually born during June or July. The young can fly after around four weeks and forage independently after six weeks.

Hibernation

These bats hibernate in the winter. They form roosts in tree holes, building crevices and bat boxes.

Where do soprano pipistrelle bats live?

Soprano pipistrelle bats can be found in woodland and urban parks and gardens. The species occurs throughout the UK with the exception of the very north of Scotland.

Did you know?

The soprano pipistrelle was only identified as a separate species from the common pipistrelle in the 90s.

Signs and spotting tips

Keep an eye out for this species near lakes and rivers, as this is where they are most likely to be seen feeding. As with all bats, the best chance of seeing them is around sunset.

Threats and conservation

This species is widespread and one of the most common in the UK. Potential threats include the loss of old buildings for roosting and a shortage of insect prey due to changes in agricultural practices.

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