Hartebeest  (Alcelaphus buselaphus)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family:    Bovidae
Size:    Height: 3.9 to 4.75 feet (1.18 to 1.44 m) at shoulder 
Weight: 165 to 350 pounds (75 to 158 kg)
Diet: Mainly grass, sometimes leaves and fruit
Distribution: Africa
Young:  1
Animal Predators:  Spotted hyena, jackal, leopard, cheetah and lion
IUCN Status: Lower Risk, Conservation Dependent
Terms: Young: Calf

11 to 20 years. 



·       Hartebeest is an Afrikaans word meaning “tough beast.”

·       Female herds are made up of a mother, her female children and grandchildren.

·       Hartebeests are gregarious and herds sometimes intermingle with zebra and other antelope herds.



Both males and females have similar appearances, although males are slightly larger. They both have horns with an S-shaped curve and long faces. Their colouring can range from reddish brown fur to sandy brown, and some subspecies have black areas along the legs. 



Hartebeests live mainly in grasslands and savannas. They tend to forage for food in the open. They prefer to stay in one area, but will move locations if conditions become severe, as in the case of a drought. 


Feeding Habits

Almost their entire diets are made up of grass, but they sometimes eat leaves and fruit.



Females will leave the herd and find a secluded area surrounded by brush and long grass when they are about to give birth. Pregnancy lasts seven to eight months and one calf is born. The calf lies quietly in its hiding place while its mother feeds, returning for brief periods to nurse. The calf joins the herd a few weeks later. Calves are weaned at four months. Young males stay with their mothers for two to three years, when they leave to join a bachelor group. Females stay close to their mothers until it is time for them to give birth to their own offspring. 



Hartebeests live in herds of up to 300, made up of smaller groups that are separated into young males; females and their young; territorial males and non-territorial males. When a predator approaches the herd, one or more hartebeests give off an alarm snort and they gallop away in single file at speeds of up to 50 miles (80 km) per hour. 



Hartebeests were once the widest-ranging antelopes in Africa, but hunting, urban development and competition with domestic herds of cattle have limited their range and numbers. They are now found only in select portions of African countries such as Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Tanzania. A subspecies, the bubal hartebeest that once ranged through Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia became extinct in the 1920s. Although the common hartebeest is listed as Lower Risk, Conservation Dependent by the IUCN, two subspecies (Swayne’s hartebeest and Tora hartebeest) are listed as Endangered, while the Bubal hartebeest is Extinct. Several national parks and reserves in Africa are now home to hartebeests.  










Hartebeest Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US