Pipistrelles are the commonest and most widespread of all British bat species. There are two very similar species, common pipistrelle and soprano pipistrelle. Pipistrelles are the bats that you are most likely to see. They appear fast and jerky in flight as they dodge about pursuing small insects which the bats catch and eat on the wing. A single pipistrelle can consume up to 3,000 insects in one night!
Common pipistrelles feed in a wide range of habitats comprising woodland, hedgerows, grassland, farmland, suburban and also urban areas. They generally emerge from their roost around 20 minutes after sunset and fly 2-10m above ground level searching for their insect prey, which they catch and eat on the wing by ‘aerial hawking’. Summer roosts of both common and soprano pipistrelles are usually found in crevices around the outside of often newer buildings, between roofing felt and roof tiles or in cavity walls. This species also roosts in tree holes and crevices, and also in bat boxes. Summer roosts support smaller colonies than soprano pipistrelles, with numbers averaging around 75 bats. Common pipistrelle maternity colonies are more likely to move between roost sites than those of soprano pipistrelles. In winter common pipistrelles are found singly or in small numbers in crevices of buildings and trees, and also in bat boxes.They are often found in relatively exposed locations and rarely underground.