back to homepagee-mail us!search!play the game!<share your story!the Living Africa
go to: the peoplego to: the landgo to: wildlifego to: national parks

bovid family
bovid family
other herbivores

wildlife (back to intro)

in this section
Blue Duiker
Gazelle tribe
Thomson's gazelle
Grant's gazelle
Kob antelope
Sable antelope
Oryx or Gemsbok
Topi or Tsessebe
Common Wildebeest
Greater Kudu
Common eland
African or Cape buffalo
Hartebeest: Alcelaphus buselaphus

Known for several subspecies with different characteristics.


Weight and Height
males: (kongoni) wt 312 lb (142 kg), ht 47 in (117 cm)
      (W. Hartbeest) wt 500 lb ((228 kg), ht 57 in (143 cm)
females: 12% lighter and shorter than males.

(kongoni) Simple bracket shape; 12 to 26.75 in (30-67 cm) long.
      (Lelwel and Red Hartebeest) Recurved horns; 12-26.75 in (30-67 cm).

Glossy and smooth

Varies from golden brown to gaudy red. Kongoni (brownish colored) have a light-colored rump and no dark markings, while red hartebeests have brownish-black thighs, white rump and belly. Most have black and white face markings.

General Locations
Once known as the widest-raging African antelope, hartebeests would range from the Mediterranean to the Cape and from Senegal to Somalia. Although hartebeest populations have greatly dwindled over the years, there are still at least 10 distinctive populations living south of the Sahara. Hartebeests can often be seen in the following national parks and reserves: Nairobi and Tsavo NP, Masai Mara NR, Kenya; Serengeti NP, Tanzania; Kidepo Valley NP, Uganda; Botswanan NP and NR.

Hartebeests prefer the edges of open plains, which tend to border woods and high grasslands. Most species are able to find appealing grasses during all season without having to move long distances. Although hartebeests are fairly selective, they easily find food in medium-height grasslands. Hartebeests are considered less water-dependent than most alcelaphines, which means that they only need to drink water when melons and tubers, for example, are not easily accessible.

Hartebeests are both nocturnal and diurnal. Activity peaks early and late in the day.

Social System
Female herds typically contain 6 to 15 members and graze within 896 to 1344 acre (370-550 ha) home ranges.

There is much competition for territory with abundant food and water. After winning territory, hartebeests inhabit the same territory during all seasons throughout the year. Only prime bulls, 4 to 7.5 years of age, can obtain central territory before passing it down to the next bull in line.

The gestation period for the hartebeest is 8 months. Reproduction is year-round and generally peaks once or twice a year during the dry season(s). Most females conceive 9 or 10 months after giving birth, which is highly unusual. Females typically begin conceiving after the age of 2.

Spotted hyena, lion, jackal, and leopard.

©  Copyright 1998, ThinkQuest team 16645
All rights reserved.