Cornish Biodiversity Network  -  Supporting Wildlife Recording

   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z restore

Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Rhinolophus ferrumequinum - Greater Horseshoe Bat

Range & Status

Found mainly in western, central and southern Europe. The species is threatened with extinction in northern Europe and there has been a considerable decline in central Europe (Schober & Grimmberger, 1987). In Britain it is confined to south-west England and south Wales, formerly being much more common and widespread, with a 91% decline since 1900 (Harris et al ., 1993); current

population is estimated at 4000 to 6600 (Harris et al ., 1995). The population is on the verge of becoming a threatened species worldwide (IUCN status, 2001). Localised and rare. The National Bat Monitoring programme has found the population to be stable with possible signs of some increase.

Regional Distribution

Colonies are scattered throughout Cornwall, often in less exposed areas. The hibernacula are associated with mining districts. There are only four known breeding colonies in Cornwall. The number of 1km squares they are recorded in has increased from 51 records (1980\endash 1996) to 73. Due to the limitations listed, this is not likely to be a significant increase. There are two maternity roosts designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Habitat & Ecology

Feeds in old pasture, parkland, woodland, scrub and grassland often near water.

Hibernation takes place mainly in mine and cave sites. Summer nurseries require buildings providing space and sufficient warmth for successful breeding. A free flight access to the roost is important.


See Introduction. This bat is conspicuous and easily disturbed as it hangs from the roof of summer or winter roosts. Remedial timber treatments, the loss of roost sites and foraging areas (Duverge & Jones, 2003) adds pressure to shrinking colonies. Barn conversions, large house conversion or insensitive renovation and the closure of shafts/adits pose particular threats in Cornwall.


Extensive legal protection detailed in Introduction. Both summer and winter roosts need special protection, e.g. grilles over entrances. Reduce pesticides and encourage mixed farming. Target for Higher Level (HLS) agri-environment schemes to manage land within the range of the roost in a sympathetic manner. UK BAP Priority Species + local BAP.


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.