Family: Vespertilionidae

Scientific name: Nyctalus aviator

Common name: Birdlike noctule

IUCN status: Near Threatened (NT)

MSJ Red list status: R


General morphology: The largest insectivorous bat in Japan. The fur is dense and velvety; the color of dorsal hairs is dark yellowish brown, near wood-brown and cinnamon, and that of ventral hairs is slightly lighter than back; wings are long and slender (Yoshiyuki, 1989). 


Diet: Mainly feeds on Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, Trichoptera, Ephemeroptera, and Hemiptera (Fukui et al., 2013; Katsuta et al., 2014). In spring and from autumn to early winter, this species regularly preys on small birds of Passeriformes (Fukui et al., 2013; Katsuta et al., 2014).


Habitat: Roosts mainly in tree cavities (Mukohyama, 1987), but occasionally uses slits under elevated bridges, buildings, and bird boxes (Sato et al., 2013). Environments around roosts vary from forest to urban areas. 


Echolocation calls: QCF calls; FMaxE=21.1 kHz (Hokkaido) (Fukui, 2004), FMaxE=19.5 kHz (Kagoshima Prefecture) (Funakoshi, 2010)



Maeda, K. (1974). Eco-ethologie de la grande noctule, Nyctalus lasiopterus, a Sapporo, Japon. Mammalia, 38(3), 461-487.

Mukohyama, M. (1987). Biology of bats in Aomori-ken 1. Conformation of breeding. Journal of Aomori-ken Biological Society, 23, 31-34.

Yoshiyuki, M. (1989). A systematic study of the Japanese Chiroptera. 242pp. National Science Museum: Tokyo.

Fukui, D., Agetsuma, N., & Hill, D. A. (2004). Acoustic identification of eight species of bat (Mammalia: Chiroptera) inhabiting forests of southern Hokkaido, Japan: potential for conservation monitoring. Zoological Science, 21(9), 947-955.

Sakuyama, M., & Shiraishi, A., (2007). Records of Nyctalus aviator flying in the daytime in Morioka City, Iwate. Tohoku no koumori, 1, 25-27.

Funakoshi, K. (2010). Acoustic identification of thirteen insectivorous bat species from the Kyushu District, Japan. Mammalian Science, 50(2), 165-175.

Fukui, D., Dewa, H., Katsuta, S., & Sato, A. (2013). Bird predation by the birdlike noctule in Japan. Journal of Mammalogy, 94(3), 657-661.

Sato, A., Osawa, Y., Osawa, K., and Katsuta, S. (2013). Winter ecology of the birdlike noctule (Nyctalus aviator) in Saitama Prefecture. 1. Distribution along the Joetsu Shinkansen and seasonal migration. Bulletin of the Saitama Museum of Natural History, 7, 101-108.

Katsuta, S., Sato, A., Osawa, Y., & Osawa, K., (2014). Food Habits of the birdlike noctule (Nyctalus aviator) in Saitama Prefecture. The analysis of feces collected at Kojima, Kumagaya in 2012. Bulletin of the Saitama Museum of Natural History, 8, 45-48.


The Island Bat Research Group (IBRG) is an international multi-disciplinary unit. It has been involved for several years in the research and conservation of endangered insular bats in Japan and other island countries.


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© 2018 by Christian E. Vincenot.

Picture featured on this website were shot by members of the group, but also by close friends and collaborators. Therefore, reuse of these pictures is subject to prior approval by the IBRG to insure proper credit can be given to authors.