Schreiber’s Bent-Winged Bat

Miniopterus schreibersii (Kuhl, 1817)


The Schreiber’s Bent-Winged Bat is easily distinguishable from other bat species found in Greece due to its prominent high-domed forehead, short and triangular ears, short nose, and elongated wings.

The Schreiber’s Bent-Winged Bat, once regarded as a cosmopolitan species, is now confined to the Mediterranean region. The populations of this species are found in southern Europe, northwest Africa, and extreme West Asia. They are occasionally seen in western Turkey, Georgia, and Russia.

Schreiber’s bats capture their prey in mid-air. They primarily consume moths and other flying insects, and they search for food in deciduous woodlands, old-growth orchards, olive groves, creeks, and even above white street-lamps.

Underground shelters, whether natural or artificial, play a crucial role in their survival, as they tend to gather in colonies within caves and mines. Populations often utilise various roosts throughout the year, aligning with different stages of their life cycle such as mating, hibernation, and reproduction-birth.

Schreiber’s Bent-Winged Bat congregates with conspecifics or with individuals of different bat species, forming clusters totaling up to tens of thousands of individuals! In case of large caves with diverse microclimatic conditions, they can serve as whole year roost of a population.

They breed once a year, giving birth to one young. The maximum lifespan recorded is 22 years! Mating takes place in autumn, but pregnancy begins in spring and is completed in summer. Pregnant females form large maternity colonies in summer roosts.

The species is evaluated as Vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List 2023 and the global population trend is declining. In recent decades many of the populations occurring in southern and central Europe have declined dramatically or disappeared completely. The disturbance to their roosts, the loss of preferable foraging areas and the use of insecticides constitute the main threats to its populations.

In Greece Miniopterus schreibersii is assessed as Near Threatened according to the Red Book of the Threatened Animals 2009. Although it is a widespread, relatively abundant species in the country, yet it runs the same risks. Among its 139 recorded roosts, there is a cave in the Peloponnese (Cave of the Lakes, in Kastria, Achaia) which hosts more than 28.000 individuals in winter!

You can see the distribution of the species in Greece’s caves and mines, here