Tadarida brasiliensis (Brazilian Free-tailed Bat)

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Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat habitats

Habitat and Ecology

It occurs in wide range of habitats (Barquez pers. comm.). It is an insectivorous, migratory species forming large colonies with millions of individuals. In the Antilles it forms small colonies (Rodriguez pers. comm.)

  • Terrestrial

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
Least Concern

Red List Criteria


Year Assessed

Barquez, R., Diaz, M., Gonzalez, E., Rodriguez, A., Inchustegui, S. & Arroyo-Cabrales, J.

Solari, S.


This species is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category.

  • Least Concern (LC)
  • 1996
    Lower 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

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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