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Red Hartebeest, Etosha National Park, Namibia
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Alcelaphinae
Genus: Alcelaphus
Species: A. buselaphus
Binomial name
Alcelaphus buselaphus
Pallas, 1766

A. b. buselaphus
A. b. cokii
A. b. lelwel
A. b. major
A. b. swaynei
A. b. tora


Bubalis buselaphus (Lichtenstein, 1814)

The hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus) is a grassland antelope found in West Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa. It is one of the three species classified in the genus Alcelaphus.[2]

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 where they eat grass. They are diurnal 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,[2] previously seven[3] when it still included the Red Hartebeest, which is now considered a distinct species after phylogeographic studies.[2]

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

Two other species less commonly known as 'hartebeest' are classed in the Damaliscus genus.

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


The word hartebeest comes from Afrikaans and was originally called hertebeest. The name was given by the Boers who thought it resembled deer (hert in Dutch, the Dutch beest means 'beast' in English).[4]

See also


  1. ^ IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Alcelaphus buselaphus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 11 February 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e Wilson, Don E. & Reeder, DeeAnn M. (editors). 2005. Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed), Johns Hopkins University Press, 2,142 pp. Available online
  3. ^ Antelope Specialist Group (1996). Alcelaphus buselaphus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  4. ^ Llewellyn, E.C. (1936) The Influence of Low Dutch on the English Vocabulary. Chapter XIV The Influence of South African Dutch or Afrikaans on the English Vocabulary. Oxford University Press, London. Available online

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HARTEBEEST, the Boer name for a large South African antelope (also known as caama) characterized by its red colour, long face with naked muzzle and sharply angulated lyrate horns, which are present in both sexes. This antelope is the Cape Hartebeest (Bubalis canna). Bubalis cama or Alcelaphus cama of naturalists; but the name hartebeest has been extended to include all the numerous members of the same genus, some of which are to be found in every part of Africa, while one or two extend into Syria. Some of the species of the allied genus Damaliscus, such as Hunter's antelope (D. hunteri), are also often called hartebeests. (See ANTELOPE.)

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