Photo Credit: Ann Froschauer USFWS

Townsend's big-eared bat

Corynorhinus townsendii

Order: Chiroptera

Suborder: Yangochiroptera

Family: Vespertilionidae

Call characteristics:

Low frequency caller (~20 kHz range)

Body Length

3 1/2 - 4 1/2 in

(9.0 – 11.5 cm)


  1/5 - 1/2 oz

(5 - 13 g)

The Townsend’s big-eared bat is easily identifiable by its extremely large ears which measure nearly half its body length. Other distinguishing features include a long, pointed tragus and a short snout with pronounced lumps on either side. Its pelage is variable, with dorsal fur ranging from gray to reddish- or blackish-brown; and gray ventral fur showing brown or buff tips. It is a wide-ranging species, found from southern Canada to southern Mexico, occupying diverse habitats including coniferous forests, oak-hickory forests, and grasslands. Townsend’s big-eared bats typically roost in cliffs, caves, and rock ledges, hibernating in areas with substantial airflow. The species feeds mostly on moths but occasionally preys on other small insects. Females produce a single pup per reproductive cycle. The oldest recaptured Townsend’s big-eared bat was 21 years old. Townsend’s big-eared bats are one of a handful of low-intensity echolocation species colloquially referred to as "whispering bats." 


There are various sources for bat species range maps including IUCN, NatureServe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ECOS, and the National Atlas of the United States (left). 


Photo Credit: Dan Neubaum




NABat utilizes monitoring data provided by a broad network of partners to support regional and range-wide inferences about changes in the distributions and abundances of bat populations facing current and emerging threats.

Information used to populate this page was obtained from the following sources:


NatureServe Explorer

United States Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Conservation Online System 

Bat Conservation International Bat Profiles

National Atlas of the United States. (2011). North American Bat Ranges, 1830-2008. National Atlas of the United States. Available at:

Taylor, M. 2019. Bats: an illustrated guide to all species. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books.