Rhinolophus capensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Rhinolophidae

Scientific Name: Rhinolophus capensis Lichtenstein, 1823
Common Name(s):
English Cape Horseshoe Bat, Southern Africa Horseshoe Bat

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2014-02-22
Assessor(s): Jacobs, D. & Monadjem, A.
Reviewer(s): Raimondo, D. & Child, M.F.
Contributor(s): Cohen, L., MacEwan, K., Richards, L.R., Sethusa, T., Schoeman, C., Taylor, P. & Monadjem, A.

An endemic species to South Africa. While declining  in parts of its range, the species is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, its known large population (there are many records of this species occurring in high numbers in  coastal caves), and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category. 

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

This South African endemic is mainly restricted to the coastal belt, typically 100-200 km wide (but possibly further inland), of the Northern Cape, Western Cape and the Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa, and occurs from just south of the border of Namibia in the west as far east along the coast as the vicinity of East London (Skinner and Chimimba 2005). It occurs mainly in the South West Cape biotic zone (BZ), but extends marginally into the Karoo, Highveld, Coastal Forest Mosaic and Afromontane-Afroapline BZs (Bernard 2013). We follow Herselman and Norton (1985) and Monadjem et al. (2010) in extending its range to just south of the Orange River on the Namibian border, but it may also occur in southern Namibia (Griffin 1999). As R. capensis is difficult to discern from R. clivosus and R. darling, records north of 32°S may need vetting (Bernard 2013). Similarly, one record from north-east Eastern Cape (Lynch 1989) needs vetting. Its current estimated extent of occurrence is over 400,000 km².

Countries occurrence:
South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, Northern Cape Province, Western Cape)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:75819.86
Number of Locations:30-50
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


This species is common throughout its range (Bernard 2013), and is relatively well represented in museums (Monadjem et al. 2010). Skinner and Chimimba (2005) state that 'they are abundant in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape, where there are many records from coastal caves. It can be found in colonies consisting of thousands of individuals (Herselman and Norton 1985, Taylor 2000, Skinner and Chimimba 2005). For example, there are an estimated 19,000 individuals in De Hoop Guano Cave (McDonald et al. 1990a). 

Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

This bat has been recorded from a range of habitats, but is closely associated with the Fynbos and Succulent Karoo Biomes (Monadjem et al. 2010). Populations roost in suitable coastal and sea caves, and have been recorded from dark lofts, and disused mines (Taylor 2000, Csorba et al. 2003), but apparently avoids houses (Bernard 2013). They often shares caves with R. clivosus and Miniopterus natalensis (Herselman and Norton 1985, Stoffberg 2008). They forage predominantly in the canopy of trees (McDonald et al. 1990b), or in orchards surrounding wetlands and over the wetlands themselves (Sirami et al. 2013). They are clutter foragers, feeding primarily on Coleoptera and Lepidoptera (Jacobs et al. 2007, Monadjem et al. 2010). Small-scale migrations of 10 km have been recorded (Taylor 2000). Sometimes hibernates in winter but torpor not as deep as R. clivsous (R.T.F Bernard pers. obs.).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:No

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not traded.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

No major threats have been identified for this species. It may be declining in parts of its range due to disturbance of cave roosts (often by recreational and tourism activities), and the conversion of suitable foraging habitat to agricultural use.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is recorded from more than 10 protected areas including: West Coast National Park; De Hoop Nature Reserve; Garden Route National Park; Langeberg Nature Reserve; Addo Elephant National Park; Great Fish Nature Reserve; Kologha Forest Reserve and Kubusi Indigenous State Forest. While no urgent conservation interventions are necessary, the species would benefit from further protected area establishment once key roost sites have been identified; and artificial wetlands in agricultural landscapes should be managed for biodiversity by conserving patches of native vegetation around the waterbodies (Sirami et al. 2013).  Further studies are needed into the distribution of this bat it may occur in southern Namibia.

Citation: Jacobs, D. & Monadjem, A. 2017. Rhinolophus capensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T19529A21980883. . Downloaded on 20 September 2017.
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