Pipistrellus pygmaeus

Soprano pipistrelle
Soprano pipistrelle
Soprano pipistrelle

The Soprano Pipistrelle bat occurs sympatrically with the Common Pipistrelle bat. The distribution includes the European Mediterranean area and Western Asia Minor, Southern and Central Europe. It is found on Cyprus but not on Crete. Eastwards to the Caucasus.1 In Bulgaria it is established in the eastern Rhodopes and the southern parts of the Black Sea coast.

A very small bat with a short pale muzzle and ears. The fur is sand- or reddish-brown, the ventral side is slightly paler. All skin parts are paler than the ones of the Common Pipistrelle bat. Between the nostrils there is a characteristic bulge. The hair on the tail membrane is extended substantially further than in the Common Pipistrelle bat.

The echolocation call is up to 12 ms long QCF calls with peak around 55 kHz. The FM-QCF calls are shorter with peak frequencies of up to 65 kHz. The calls of this species overlap with the calls of the Common Pipistrelle bat.

Forests, lowlands and around water bodies. In the Mediterranean area and on the Black Sea coast, they hunt over the sea in shallow bays and over lagoons. The species makes a partial migration. Hunting areas can be up 4-10 km away from the roost.

Nursery roosts are in wall claddings of houses, under flat-roof coverings, tree holes and rock crevices. Winter roosts are caves, tree holes and crevices in buildings.

Nursery colonies can be big (800 – 900 females) or small (15 – 20 females). This species shares roosts with the Common Pipistrelle, Nathusius’, Pipistrelle and Brandt’s bats. The females give birth in the second part of June to one or two pups (usually twins). The juveniles reach sexual maturity in the first autumn. Mating takes place from the end of July to October, the copulation is in March.  

The Soprano Pipistrelle bat is an agile bat – it hunts over large lakes or the sea, under branches or overhanging water. The food consists of Diptera, Hymenoptera and mayflies.

There are large colonies in buildings and this is why the renovation of human settlements is a threat to this species.

Christian Dietz and Andreas Kiefer (2014), “Bats of Britain and Europe”;

Vasil Popov, Atila Sedefchev (2003), “Mammals in Bulgaria”;

Vasil Popov, Nikolay Spasov, Teodora Ivanova, Borqna Mihaylova and Kiril Georgiev (2007), “Mammals important for conservation in Bulgaria”.