Scientific Name
Taphozous hildegardeae
Global Conservation Status (IUCN)

Data Sheet

Diet: Insectivore

Hildegarde’s tomb bats feed primarily on insects such as moths, grasshoppers and crickets, which they catch in flight or glean off vegetation. 

Fun Fact: Hildegarde’s tomb bat males have a gland on their chest which produces an oily secretion for scent-marking. It leaves a dark stain on their fur, giving the impression of a black beard. 

Appearance: A moderate-sized bat with a body mass between 20 and 36 g, they have light brown fur covering their backs and heads and a white, or lighter, belly. Their wing membranes are white. The tail emerges through the tail membrane on the dorsal side, but is completely enclosed by it during flight. 

Habitat: Hildegarde’s tomb bats roost in groups in coral caves along Kenya’s and Tanzania’s coastline. Their range is very limited and they seem to require specific cave characteristics to persist. Not much is known about their habitat use but they likely forage in undisturbed forests and mangroves along the coastline.  

Conservation Concerns: This species is currently listed as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List as the population has only been recorded from a limited number of locations and is facing substantial threats to their survival. Cave disturbance and landscape destruction are two main factors impacting the bats. 

Additional Resources:

Bat Species of the World

IUCN RedList

Literature Cited:

Colket, E., & Wilson, D. E. (1998). Taphozous hildegardeae. Mammalian Species, (597), 1-3. 

Makori, B. A. (2017). Bat habitat use along a disturbance gradient in mangrove forests, Northern Coastal Kenya. Karatina University

Metcalfe, K., Ffrench-Constant, R., & Gordon, I. (2010). Sacred sites as hotspots for biodiversity: the Three Sisters Cave complex in coastal Kenya. Oryx, 44(1), 118-123. 

Muñoz‐Romo, M., Page, R. A., & Kunz, T. H. (2021). Redefining the study of sexual dimorphism in bats: following the odour trail. Mammal Review, 51(2), 155-177. 

Patterson, B. D., & Webala, P. W. (2012). Keys to the bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera) of east Africa. Fieldiana Life and Earth Sciences, 2012(6), 1-60. 

Rydell, J., Fenton, M. B., Seamark, E., Webala, P. W., & Michaelsen, T. C. (2020). White and clear wings in bats (Chiroptera). Canadian Journal of Zoology, 98(2), 149-156.