Have horseshoe-shaped features on their face called noseleafs


Insectivorous; eats insects


Caves in intact montane forests in Rwanda.

Hill’s horseshoe bats are only known to occur in Nyungwe National Park, an important protected area for many Central African bird, mammal, and primate species.

We are working with African partners to re-discover this rare species of bat which hasn’t been seen since 1981.

Recover remaining Hill’s Horseshoe Bat populations in Central Africa

Common Name
Hill’s Horseshoe Bat
Scientific Name
Rhinolophus Hilli
Critically Endangered

Project Details

On March 8, 2022, a multi-national team of experts led by Bat Conservation International (BCI), Rwanda Development Board, and the Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association announced the rediscovery of the Hill’s horseshoe bat, a critically endangered ‘lost species’ not seen in forty years. To support wider efforts to understand and protect imperiled bats, BCI published records of the rediscovery in their first dataset shared openly through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. To learn more about this rediscovery, CLICK HERE.

The Critically Endangered Hill’s horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hilli) had not been seen since 1981. The scientific and conservation community lacks basic knowledge about the species, such as where it roosts, population status, foraging habitat and behavior, and whether it can persist in degraded forests. We will determine the status of the Critically Endangered Hill’s horseshoe bat in Rwanda and develop a conservation management plan to protect bats in Nyungwe National Park. Our team will carry out extensive surveys of Nyungwe National Park and produce the first georeferenced database for caves. Morphological and genetic methods will help us verify the presence of Hill’s horseshoe bat in the park.

Rwandan field site
Winifred Frick


  • Conduct surveys within Nyungwe National Park to produce the first georeferenced database for caves to better understand potential roosting habitat
  • Identify bat species composition of Nyungwe National Park, including collecting acoustic recordings of echolocation calls and genetic samples
  • Determine potential threats to Hill’s horseshoe bat populations
  • Identify key foraging habitat and diet of the Hill’s horseshoe bat

Population Monitoring

  • Conduct counts of bats at cave roosts to gather more information about how many bats of this species exist
  • Train Nyungwe park rangers to carry out acoustic monitoring of bats in the park as part of ongoing monitoring efforts
Acoustic analysis in the field
Winifred Frick

Local Involvement

  • Work with the Rwanda Development Board, Nyungwe park rangers, African scientists, and local Rwandan conservation NGOs to recognize threats to the bats and identify opportunities to continue to protect them
  • Work with Park Rangers to address land management concerns near suspected roosting sites

Key Collaborators