Tadarida teniotis

European Free Tailed Bat
European Free Tailed Bat
European Free Tailed Bat


This species is distributed from the Canary Islands and Madeira through the whole Mediterranean area, Asia Minor, the Caucasus and the Middle East. In the north to southern France, southern Switzerland, Croatia and Bulgaria.1 In Bulgaria it is a rare species. A colony is found in a rock crevice near Madzharovo.

One of the largest European bats – the ears are large, rounded, joined at the base and project beyond the muzzle. The wings are very long. The fur is short from black-grey, brightly silver-grey to grey-brown, the ventral side is slightly paler. Large eyes. The tail extends for about half its length beyond the narrow tail membrane.

The echolocation calls are up tо 27 ms long. The calls are between 9 – 14 kHz (mostly 10 kHz) and thus in the audible range of humans. This low frequency allows to the European free-tailed bat to feed on a wide range of big moths and lacewings which are sensitive to frequencies between 20 – 60 kHz. Hunting animals can be heard with the naked ear at over 100 m and with a detector at over 150 m.

In Bulgaria it is found in karst and rocky areas. In the Mediterranean areas it can be found in all altitudes from sea level to far above 2,000 m above sea level. Hunting grounds can be over forests, plantation and olive groves, also over water, cities and cultivated landscapes. This species does not make seasonal migrations. The hunting grounds are usually within 30 km from the roost.

In rock crevices, caves and in similar cavities in buildings. This species forms small colonies and are attached to their roosts.

The species copulates in the fall and spring. It forms nursery colonies that comprise of 5 – 50 animals in the beginning of June, right before the birth. The females give birth to only one young which begins to fly in 3 – 4 weeks.

Tadarida teniotis takes off late after sunset, the flight is fast and it can reach at least 65 km/h. This species hunts at a high altitude. The food consists of flying insects, 65 – 90 % of the prey is moths.

In Bulgaria the threats are unexplored.

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”.


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