The hartebeest is a grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

Antelope is a term referring to many even-toed ungulate species indigenous to various regions in Africa and Eurasia. Antelopes comprise a miscellaneous group within the family Bovidae, encompassing those old-world species that are neither cattle, sheep, buffalo, bison, nor goats...

 found in West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

, East Africa
East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

 and Southern Africa
Southern Africa
Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. Within the region are numerous territories, including the Republic of South Africa ; nowadays, the simpler term South Africa is generally reserved for the country in English.-UN...

. It is one of the three species classified in the genus Alcelaphus
Alcelaphus is a genus of antelope. It contains the Hartebeest, Red Hartebeest and Lichtenstein's Hartebeest....


Hartebeest stand almost 1.5 m (5 ft) at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 120–200 kg (265–440 lb). Male hartebeest are a dark brown colour while females are yellow brown. Both sexes have horns which can reach lengths up to 70 cm (27 in). Hartebeest live in grassland and open forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

 where they eat grass
Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledonous, usually herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae family, as well as the sedges and the rushes . The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns ...

. They are diurnal
Diurnal animal
Diurnality is a plant or animal behavior characterized by activity during the day and sleeping at night.-In animals:Animals that are not diurnal might be nocturnal or crepuscular . Many animal species are diurnal, including many mammals, insects, reptiles and birds...

 and spend the morning and late afternoon eating. Herds contain five to twenty individuals but can occasionally contain up to 350.


Six subspecies have been described, previously seven when it still included the Red Hartebeest
Red Hartebeest
The Red Hartebeest is a species of even-toed ungulate in the Bovidae family. It is found in Southern Africa. There are more than 130,000 individuals left. The Red Hartebeest is closely related to the Tsessebe and the Topi....

, which is now considered a distinct species after phylogeographic studies.
  • Bubal Hartebeest
    Bubal Hartebeest
    The Bubal Hartebeest is classified as an extinct antelope.The statement that the antelope was extinct in 1923 has been refuted by the following source written in 1945...

    , Alcelaphus buselaphus buselaphus (Extinct)
  • Coke's Hartebeest
    Coke's Hartebeest
    Coke's Hartebeest or Kongoni is an antelope native to Kenya and Tanzania.It can hybridize with Lelwel Hartebeest to make the Kenya Highland Hartebeest ....

     or Kongoni, Alcelaphus buselaphus cokii
  • Lelwel Hartebeest
    Lelwel Hartebeest
    The Lelwel Hartebeest is an antelope native to Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda....

    , Alcelaphus buselaphus lelwel
  • Western Hartebeest
    Western Hartebeest
    The Western Hartebeest is an antelope native to the medium to tall grassland plains of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo. It is possibly extirpated from Gambia.Average adult Western...

    , Alcelaphus buselaphus major
  • Swayne's Hartebeest
    Swayne's Hartebeest
    Swayne's Hartebeest is an endangered antelope native to Ethiopia. It has been extirpated from Somalia....

    , Alcelaphus buselaphus swaynei
  • Tora Hartebeest
    Tora Hartebeest
    The Tora Hartebeest is an endangered antelope, native to Eritrea and Ethiopia. It has possibly been extirpated from Sudan....

    , Alcelaphus buselaphus tora

Two subspecies cross-breeds are recognized by some sectors of the commercial hunting fraternity.
  • Kenya Highland Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus lelwel x cokii
  • Neumann Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus lelwel x swaynei. (Ethiopia)

Other species

  • Red Hartebeest
    Red Hartebeest
    The Red Hartebeest is a species of even-toed ungulate in the Bovidae family. It is found in Southern Africa. There are more than 130,000 individuals left. The Red Hartebeest is closely related to the Tsessebe and the Topi....

     Alcelaphus caama.
  • Lichtenstein's Hartebeest
    Lichtenstein's Hartebeest
    Lichtenstein's Hartebeest is a savannah and floodplain dwelling antelope found in southern Central Africa. By some this species is classified as Sigmoceros lichtensteinii....

    , Alcelaphus lichtensteinii is classified by some in the Sigmoceros genus as Sigmoceros lichtensteinii.

Two other species less commonly known as 'hartebeest' are classed in the Damaliscus
Damaliscus, known as sassabies is a genus of antelope with just four species in the family Bovidae, subfamily Alcelaphinae found in Africa....

  • Korrigum (Senegal Hartebeest), Damaliscus lunatus korrigum
  • Tiang (Tiang Hartebeest), Damaliscus lunatus tiang


The word hartebeest comes from Afrikaans
Afrikaans is a West Germanic language, spoken natively in South Africa and Namibia. It is a daughter language of Dutch, originating in its 17th century dialects, collectively referred to as Cape Dutch .Afrikaans is a daughter language of Dutch; see , , , , , .Afrikaans was historically called Cape...

 and was originally called hertebeest. The name was given by the Boer
Boer is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for farmer, which came to denote the descendants of the Dutch-speaking settlers of the eastern Cape frontier in Southern Africa during the 18th century, as well as those who left the Cape Colony during the 19th century to settle in the Orange Free State,...

s who thought it resembled deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

 (hert in Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

, the Dutch beest means 'beast' in English).

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.