The barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus) is a predominantly tree-dwelling species associated with woodland with a high proportion of standing dead wood or storm damaged trees. This species is a specialist moth predator and will commute distances of up to 20km to feed on populations of these insects.

Whilst most British bat species are quite opportunistic in the prey they catch, the more specialist barbastelle is obliged to switch its choice of foraging habitat throughout the year in order to target those places where moths are most abundant. In the winter this tends to be within dense woodland, riverine habitats are used in the spring, and hedgerows and meadows during the summer.

The barbastelle has a broadly southern distribution in Britain, with the most northerly records being from Lincolnshire. This wide distribution belies its status as a rare bat species, as colonies are sparsely distributed in the landscape and absent from many areas of the country.

The VWT has undertaken studies into the distribution of this species and its roosting preferences.

The VWT is working to conserve the barbastelle by:

  • establishing a bat box scheme in areas where the species occurs or might possibly occur
  • giving advice to woodland managers on conservation measures to protect and promote these animals

 For more information about bats see our downloads page.


 Distribution of Barbastelle bat