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

Very little is known about the mysterious Hill’s horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hilli). It is endemic to Rwanda, and has only been recorded within Nygunwe National Park. Last recorded in 1981, there were growing fears that this species was lost forever. 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  Hill’s horseshoe bat, marking the first time this species had been seen in forty years.
To support wider efforts to understand and protect imperiled bats, BCI has published records of the rediscovery in their first dataset shared openly through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.

In August 2022 the research team traveled back to Rwanda and were able to catch and radio-track a Hill’s horseshoe bat so they could identify where it roosts during the day – something that was not known for this species. They found the Hill’s horseshoe bat roosting in a tree with multiple other bats. Work is now ongoing to monitor the roost and collect the bats guano to help understand the diet of the species.

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