Histoplasma capsulatum was sampled in lungs from 87 migratory Tadarida brasiliensis bats captured in Mexico (n=66) and Argentina (n=21). The fungus was screened by nested-PCR using a sensitive and specific Hcp100 gene fragment. This molecular marker was detected in 81·6% [95% confidence interval (CI) 73·4–89·7] of all bats, representing 71 amplified bat lung DNA samples. Data showed a T. brasiliensis infection rate of 78·8% (95% CI 68·9–88·7) in bats captured in Mexico and of 90·4% (95% CI 75·2–100) in those captured in Argentina. Similarity with the H. capsulatum sequence of a reference strain (G-217B) was observed in 71 Hcp100 sequences, which supports the fungal findings. Based on the neighbour-joining and maximum parsimony Hcp100 sequence analyses, a high level of similarity was found in most Mexican and all Argentinean bat lung samples. Despite the fact that 81·6% of the infections were molecularly evidenced, only three H. capsulatum isolates were cultured from all samples tested, suggesting a low fungal burden in lung tissues that did not favour fungal isolation. This study also highlighted the importance of using different tools for the understanding of histoplasmosis epidemiology, since it supports the presence of H. capsulatum in T. brasiliensis migratory bats from Mexico and Argentina, thus contributing new evidence to the knowledge of the environmental distribution of this fungus in the Americas.