Tadarida brasiliensis (Brazilian Free-tailed Bat)
Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat habitats
Habitat and Ecology
Brazilian free-tailed bats use a variety of different roost sites, including caves and man-made structures, such as bridges and attics. Caves with large rooms and high ceilings are the primary roosting habitats, although roosts also occur in hollow trees. Roosts are used for nesting, breeding, and interaction between individuals.
Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: chaparral ; forest
Other Habitat Features: urban ; suburban ; caves
Comments: Roosts primarily in buildings (generally old ones) in southeastern U.S. (sometimes in hollow trees), U.S. West Coast, and Jamaica; in caves in southwestern U.S.; in both buildings and caves in Puerto Rico. May use rock crevice, bridge, sign, or cliff swallow nest as roost during migration. Generally roosts high (at least 3 m) above ground to allow free fall required to attain flight. Large maternity colonies inhabit buildings and caves (rarely used in Florida); also uses culverts and bridges. Tends to return to natal cave to breed (Caire et al. 1989).
The Brazilian free-tailed bat is found in many different habitats from desert through pinion-juniper woodland to pine-oak forests. It inhabits areas from sea level to 3,000 metres, and roosts in limestone caves, abandoned mines, under bridges, in buildings and in hollow trees (5).
Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat size
Length: 11 cm
Weight: 14 grams
Sexual Dimorphism: Males may be about 5% longer than females but females weigh about 5% more than males.
Average: 95 mm
Range: 85-109 mm
Range: 10-15 g
Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat distributions
This species is found from southern Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile to Oregon, southern Nebraska and Ohio (USA), and in the Greater and Lesser Antilles (Simmons 2005). The distribution extends to the Falkland Islands. It is not found in Nicaragua (Medina pers. comm.)
Tadarida brasiliensis is a member of one of the widely distributed genera of bats in North and South America. Extensive studies on their range have yet to be completed, especially within South America; however they have been found throughout the much of the United States, Mexico, Central America, and southwestern South America, including Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. In the United States Tadarida brasiliensis is found from southern Oregon to Nevada and eastward to North Carolina and southwestern Virginia. In the last 50 to 100 years, Tadarida brasiliensis populations have declined, possibly due to a decrease in habitat, damage to roosts, and indirect consumption of pesticides.
Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); neotropical (Native )
occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations
Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat Conservation Status
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- Least Concern (LC)
- 1996Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
Populations of Tadarida brasiliensis have declined over the last century. Some suggest this decline has been caused by disturbance and destruction of roost sites and indirect poisoning by pesticides. Tadarida brasiliensis is labeled as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with a Species Action Plan created.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure