Cornish Biodiversity Network  -  Supporting Wildlife Recording

   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z restore

Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Pipistrellus pygmaeus - Soprano Pipistrelle

Range &


Before 1999 Common and Soprano Pipistrelle bats, which are difficult to tell apart, were

all classed as a single species, the Common Pipistrelle. This makes comparison with data

prior to 1999 difficult to interpret. Common throughout Britain including Cornwall there

has been a substantial decline (Stebbings, 1988). The present population estimate is

2,000,000 (Harris et al ., 1995) although this figure includes the Cryptic Soprano Pipistrelle


Regional Distribution

Found throughout Cornwall. Was recorded in 81 1km squares (before identification of two separate Pipistrelle species), now 184 1km squares (undifferentiated Pipistrelle species) or 8 1km squares confirmed as Soprano Pipistrelle. It would appear that the Soprano Pipistrelle is less widespread in Cornwall than the Common Pipistrelle. Has been recorded from the Isles of Scilly; suspected breeding from one island yet to be confirmed.

Habitat & Ecology

Found in most habitats, including urban, except in very exposed areas. It catches and eats small insects in flight. In summer it roosts in crevices around buildings, often in large numbers and moves to similar but cooler sites and trees in winter. Seldom goes far underground. When compared to the Common Pipistrelle it is less prone to moving between roosts and is more closely associated with water. Emerges early dusk.


See Introduction. Disturbance in roosts and reduction in fresh water quality.


Extensive legal protection detailed in Introduction. Not at risk of extinction worldwide (IUCN status, 2001). UK BAP Priority Species + local BAP.


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.