Bat sounds on Xeno-canto & GBIF

On a large and diverse community, with professional ornithologists and sound recordists as well as “citizen scientists” and casual observers have brought together a truly global reference database of bird sounds, with over 660.000 sound recordings of more than 10.000 bird species. Over the years the website has become an indispensable tool for everyone interested in bird song worldwide. As an example a Google Scholar search turns up 3260 results (November 1st 2021). The collection is housed on a stable institutional IT infrastructure in the Netherlands maintained by the Dutch GBIF partner Naturalis Biodiversity Center. 

Communities of bat researchers and enthusiasts have steadily grown worldwide. Recently, research involving passive acoustic monitoring has surged. In fact a large portion of bat species are rarely sampled using other methods. Accessible, high-quality call libraries for bats sounds are vital for the field to progress. Currently no repository similar to Xeno-canto for bat sounds exists. For example on April 1st 2021 GBIF referred to 490 bat sounds, mostly from Europe and North America. With a larger number of bat species and recordings openly accessible on Xeno-canto, it will be possible to better train algorithms used for automatic species recognition. This will greatly improve our ability to generate baseline information on species diversity for many yet unexplored sites, but also to more effectively monitor bat species or sites of conservation interest. In addition, open access to bat vocalizations will stimulate research at larger geographical, temporal and evolutionary scales.

This project will result in a stable repository for bat sounds (Chiroptera) as an expansion of the Xeno-canto collection on of bird (Aves) and grasshopper (Orthoptera) sounds. The sounds and metadata will be shared through GBIF and are also available through an API.