Common pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus

The common pipistrelle is our smallest and most common bat. Pipistrelles have dark, golden-brown fur, a slightly paler underside and a darker mask around the face. Their flight is rapid with lots of twists and turns.



All British bats are nocturnal, feeding on midges, moths and other flying insects which they find in the dark by using echolocation. Pipistrelles often roost in the roof spaces of houses and can often be seen in gardens or feeding on insects around street lights at dusk. Pipistrelles hibernate over winter, usually between November and April, although they may come out to feed on warm days.


Length: 3-5cm

Weight: 3-8g

Wingspan: 20cm

Average lifespan: 4-5 years


Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.


Widespread, found throughout the country, only absent from Shetland and parts of Orkney.

When to see

April – October


  • It was recently discovered that there are actually two species of pipistrelle bat – common and soprano – both grouped as Pipistrellus pipistrellus. They are distinguished by the different frequency of their echolocation calls.
  • The common pipistrelle is one of our smallest mammals; it’s so small it can fit into a matchbox. But despite its size, it can easily eat 3,000 midges and insects a night.

Common name

Common pipistrelle

Species name

Pipistrellus pipistrellus

IUCN Red List status

Least concern

When to see in Scotland

April – October

Where to see in Scotland

Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves such as Cathkin Marsh or Rahoy hills.

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