Lutra 57(1)_Bekker et al_2014

First records of predation of grey long-eared bats (Plecotus austriacus) by the barn owl (Tyto alba) in the Netherlands

The Dutch National Ecological Monitoring scheme (NEM) is analysing owl pellets, predominantly from barn owl (Tyto alba) in order to monitor small mammals (rodents and shrews). Barn owls and bats, most frequently long-eared bats (brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus) and grey long-eared bat (Plecotus austriacus) both roost in the lofts of churches, monasteries, old farmhouses etc., and it is known that these bats are occasionally predated by barn owls (Bekker & Mostert 1991, Swift 1998). In the Netherlands grey long-eared bats are only found in the south of the country (in the provinces of Limburg, Noord-Brabant and Zeeland), which are the north-western limits of the species’ range. Before now grey longeared bats have never been recorded in owl pellets in the Netherlands. This short paper reports on the first known occurrence of barn owl predation of a grey long-eared bat in the Netherlands. In 1997....