State Museum of Natural History
Biodiversity Data Centre

Eptesicus nilssonii (Keyserling, Blasius, 1839)

  • Vespertilio nilssonii Keyserling & Bläsius, 1839
Vernacular Name
Northern Bat
Conservation status
Be (II); Bo (EUROBATS); EUHD (IV); RDBUkr: Рідкісні
Value of species
Some authors consider Eptesicus japonensis to be a synonym of E. nilssonii, but here we consider it to be a separate species (see Simmons 2005 and references therein). This is a widespread Palaearctic species that occurs from France and Norway through northern and central Europe and Asia, east to the Pacific seaboard and northern Japan (found only on Hokkaido (Abe et al. 2005), Rebun, and Rishiri). In Europe, it occurs north to well above the Arctic Circle, but is absent or occasional in the west (the Low Countries, UK, western France, Iberia), and is scarce in the mountains of southern Europe (occurs from southern France across northern Italy and there are scattered occurrences in the Balkans). It has been recorded once from Iran although the population there is marginal to the species' range (M. Sharifi pers. comm. 2005). In Mongolia (subspecies E. n. nilssonii), it is found throughout the north of the country, in forested areas in north-western Mongol Altai Mountain Range, Hövsgöl, Hangai and Hentii mountain ranges, Mongol Daguur Steppe and Eastern Mongolia. It occurs from sea level up to 2,300 m Asl (van der Kooij in litt. 2006). A widespread and common species over much of its range in Europe, indeed the most abundant bat species in the north (Rydell 1999). Summer maternity colonies usually number 10-100 females. In Mongolia, there have been no population estimates conducted, but the species is believed to be evenly distributed and not rare (M. Stubbe pers. comm.). In Japan, colonies of over 100 individuals can be found. A fast flying nocturnal bat species, found in a variety of habitats from mountain taiga to desert. It forages in open areas of diverse habitats, including woodland edge (or above woodland), small-scale farmland, parks and gardens with trees (van der Kooij in litt. 2006), over lakes and rivers and at street lights. It is also found in river valleys where it can remain by a source of freshwater, roosting in tree holes and crevices. In autumn, it forages and displays in high mountains above the tree line (Spitzenberger 2002). Its diet comprises small insects such as Diptera. Summer roosts are located mainly in houses, occasionally in tree holes. It may change roost sites during summer. Winter roosts are found mainly in houses, cellars, and natural and artificial underground habitats. In winter the species roosts singly or in small groups of 2-4 individuals. Long-distance movements of up to 450 km have been recorded by Tress (1994). In Mongolia it hibernates from November to December until March or April, and although it does not migrate, it may shift roosts several times over seasons.
Book reference
  • Башта А.-Т., Потіш Л.А. Ссавці Закарпатської області. – Львів, 2007. – 260 с.

Taxonomic branch