|Adult male Hippotragus niger niger, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa|
|H. n. niger cow in the southern Kruger National Park, South Africa|
The sable antelope (Hippotragus niger) is an antelope which inhabits wooded savanna in East and Southern Africa, from the south of Kenya to South Africa, with a separate population in Angola.
The sable antelope shares the genus Hippotragus with the extinct bluebuck (H. leucophaeus) and the roan antelope (H. equinus), and is a member of the family Bovidae.
In 1996, an analysis of mitochondrial DNA extracted from a mounted specimen of the bluebuck showed that it is outside the clade containing the roan and sable antelopes. The cladogram below shows the position of the sable antelope among its relatives, following the 1996 analysis:
Hipotragus niger has four subspecies:
The sable antelope is sexually dimorphic, with the male heavier and about one-fifth taller than the female. 190 and 255 cm (75 and 100 in). Males reach about 117–140 cm (46–55 in) at the shoulder, while females are slightly shorter. Males typically weigh 235 kg (518 lb) and females 220 kg (490 lb). The tail is 40–75 cm (16–30 in) long, with a tuft at the end.The head-and-body length is typically between
The sable antelope has a compact and robust build, characterized by a thick neck and tough skin.It has a well-developed and often upright mane on its neck, as well as a short mane on the throat. Its general colouration is rich chestnut to black. Females and juveniles are chestnut to dark brown, while males begin darkening and turn black after three years. However, in southern populations, females have a brown to black coat. Calves less than two months old are a light tan and show faint markings. The underparts, cheek, and chin are all white, creating a great contrast with the dark back and flanks. Long, white hairs are present below the eyes, and a wide, black stripe runs over the nose.
Both sexes have ringed horns which arch backward. In females, these can reach 61–102 cm (24–40 in), while in males they are 81–165 cm (32–65 in) long. The average lifespan of the sable antelope is 19 years in the wild and 22 years in captivity.
Sable antelope live in savanna woodlands and grasslands during the dry season,where they eat mid-length grasses and leaves. They visit salt licks and have been known to chew bones to collect minerals. They are diurnal, but are less active during the heat of the day. They form herds of 10 to 30 females and calves led by a single male, called a bull. Males fight among themselves; they drop to their knees and use their horns.
In each herd, the juvenile males are exiled from the herd around three years old. All of the female calves remain, however. When the herd gets too large, it divides into smaller groups of cows and their young. These groups form new herds, once again with only one adult bull. The young males, which have been separated from the herd, associate in "bachelor groups" of up to 12 individuals. Among the bachelors, the most dominant is the first individual to join a new group of females when the position is open. Seldom, during their fights for dominance, they are able to inflict bodily harm to the contender.
When sable antelopes are threatened by predators, including lions, they confront them, using their scimitar-shaped horns. Many of these big cats have died during such fights. The antelope's numbers have been reduced severely as part of regional tsetse fly control programs.
The grassland habitat of the sable is being reduced by habitat destruction for agricultural development. Antelope are important to their habitats as grazers and browsers. They are also important as prey for carnivores.
In English "great sable antelope", "sable" or the Swahili name mbarapi are sometimes used. An archaic term used in accounts of hunting expeditions in South Africa is "potaquaine";the origin and exact application are unclear. Local names include swartwitpens (Afrikaans), kgama or phalafala (Sotho), mBarapi or palahala (Swahili), kukurugu, kwalat or kwalata (Tswana), ngwarati (Shona), iliza (Xhosa) and impalampala (Zulu).
The Giant Sable Antelopes breeding season is seasonal and births coincide with the rainy season. After a gestation period of around 9 months, the female gives birth to a single young. A newborn calf is born with a sandy coloured coat which helps it to camouflage. The calf will lie hidden away for at least 10 days while being nursed by its mother.
Young antelopes are weaned at around 8 months and will become sexually mature at between 2 and 3 years. As the calf develops, its coat will darken and it will achieve its status within the herd. The life span of a Giant Sable Antelope is around 17 years.[ citation needed ]
Giant Sable Antelopes are herbivores and are specialized browsing animals that feed upon foliage, medium length grass, leaves and herbs particularly those that grow on termite mounds. Tree leaves make up 90% of their diet. They are diurnal animals meaning they are most active in the daylight but they are less active during the hottest part of the day. Sable Antelope have a ruminant digestive system.[ citation needed ]
The bongo is a herbivorous, mostly nocturnal forest ungulate.
The springbok is a medium-sized antelope found mainly in southern and southwestern Africa. The sole member of the genus Antidorcas, this bovid was first described by the German zoologist Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmermann in 1780. Three subspecies are identified. A slender, long-legged antelope, the springbok reaches 71 to 86 cm at the shoulder and weighs between 27 and 42 kg. Both sexes have a pair of black, 35-to-50 cm (14-to-20 in) long horns that curve backwards. The springbok is characterised by a white face, a dark stripe running from the eyes to the mouth, a light-brown coat marked by a reddish-brown stripe that runs from the upper fore leg to the buttocks across the flanks like the Thomson's gazelle, and a white rump flap.
The African buffalo or Cape buffalo is a large sub-Saharan African bovine. Syncerus caffer caffer, the Cape buffalo, is the typical subspecies, and the largest one, found in Southern and East Africa. S. c. nanus is the smallest subspecies, common in forest areas of Central and West Africa, while S. c. brachyceros is in West Africa and S. c. aequinoctialis is in the savannas of East Africa. The adult buffalo's horns are its characteristic feature: they have fused bases, forming a continuous bone shield across the top of the head referred to as a "boss". They are widely regarded as among the most dangerous animals on the African continent, and according to some estimates they gore, trample, and kill over 200 people every year.
The sitatunga or marshbuck is a swamp-dwelling antelope found throughout central Africa, centering on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, parts of Southern Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Burundi, Ghana, Botswana, Rwanda, Zambia, Gabon, the Central African Republic, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. The sitatunga is confined to swampy and marshy habitats. Here they occur in tall and dense vegetation as well as seasonal swamps, marshy clearings in forests, riparian thickets and mangrove swamps.
The greater kudu is a woodland antelope found throughout eastern and southern Africa. Despite occupying such widespread territory, they are sparsely populated in most areas due to declining habitat, deforestation, and poaching. The greater kudu is one of two species commonly known as kudu, the other being the lesser kudu, T. imberbis.
The common eland, also known as the southern eland or eland antelope, is a savannah and plains antelope found in East and Southern Africa. It is a species of the family Bovidae and genus Taurotragus. An adult male is around 1.6 metres (5') tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 942 kg (2,077 lb) with an average of 500–600 kg (1,100–1,300 lb), 340–445 kg (750–981 lb) for females). It is the second largest antelope in the world, being slightly smaller on average than the giant eland. It was scientifically described by Peter Simon Pallas in 1766.
The giant eland, also known as the Lord Derby eland, is an open-forest and savanna antelope. A species of the family Bovidae and genus Taurotragus, it was described in 1847 by John Edward Gray. The giant eland is the largest species of antelope, with a body length ranging from 220–290 cm (86.5–114 in). There are two subspecies: T. d. derbianus and T. d. gigas.
The roan antelope is a savanna antelope found in West and Central Africa. It is the namesake of the Chevaline project, whose name was taken from the French Antilope Chevaline.
The scimitar oryx or scimitar-horned oryx, also known as the Sahara oryx, is a species of Oryx that was once widespread across North Africa. The species went extinct in the wild in 2000 but a group was released into an acclimation enclosure within the Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim Faunal Reserve in 2016, then reintroduced back into the wild. 21 additional animals were placed in the acclimation enclosure in 2017.
The common tsessebe or sassaby is one of six subspecies of African antelope Damaliscus lunatus of the genus Damaliscus and subfamily Alcelaphinae in the family Bovidae. It is most closely related to the topi, korrigum, coastal topi and tiang, and the bangweulu tsessebe and bontebok in the same genus. Tsessebe are found primarily in Angola, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Eswatini (Swaziland), and South Africa. Tsessebe are the fastest antelope in Africa and can run at speeds over 90 km/h.
The kob is an antelope found across Central Africa and parts of West Africa and East Africa. Together with the closely related reedbucks, waterbucks, lechwe, Nile lechwe, and puku, it forms the Reduncinae tribe. Found along the northern savanna, it is often seen in Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda; Garamba and Virunga National Park, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as grassy floodplains of South Sudan. Kob are found in wet areas, where they eat grasses. Kob are diurnal, but inactive during the heat of the day. They live in groups of either females and calves or just males. These groups generally range from five to 40 animals.
The lechwe, red lechwe or southern lechwe, is an antelope found in wetlands of south central Africa.
The waterbuck is a large antelope found widely in sub-Saharan Africa. It is placed in the genus Kobus of the family Bovidae. It was first described by Irish naturalist William Ogilby in 1833. The thirteen subspecies are grouped under two varieties: the common or Ellipsiprymnus waterbuck and the Defassa waterbuck. The head-and-body length is typically between 177–235 cm (70–93 in) and the average height is between 120 and 136 cm. A sexually dimorphic antelope, males are taller as well as heavier than females. Males reach approximately 127 cm (50 in) at the shoulder, while females reach 119 cm (47 in). Males typically weigh 198–262 kg (437–578 lb) and females 161–214 kg (355–472 lb). The coat colour varies from brown to grey. The long, spiral horns, present only on males, curve backward, then forward and are 55–99 cm (22–39 in) long.
The bluebuck or blue antelope is an extinct species of antelope that lived in South Africa until around 1800. It is congeneric with the roan antelope and sable antelope, but was smaller than either. It was sometimes considered a subspecies of the roan antelope, but a genetic study has confirmed it as a distinct species.
The bohor reedbuck is an antelope native to central Africa. The animal is placed under the genus Redunca and in the family Bovidae. It was first described by German zoologist and botanist Peter Simon Pallas in 1767. The bohor reedbuck has five subspecies. The head-and-body length of this medium-sized antelope is typically between 100–135 cm (39–53 in). Males reach approximately 75–89 cm (30–35 in) at the shoulder, while females reach 69–76 cm (27–30 in). Males typically weigh 43–65 kg (95–143 lb) and females 35–45 kg (77–99 lb). This sturdily built antelope has a yellow to grayish brown coat. Only the males possess horns which measure about 25–35 cm (9.8–13.8 in) long.
The black wildebeest or white-tailed gnu is one of the two closely related wildebeest species. It is a member of the genus Connochaetes and family Bovidae. It was first described in 1780 by Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmermann. The black wildebeest is typically 170–220 cm (67–87 in) in head-and-body length, and the typical weight is 110–180 kg (240–400 lb). Males stand about 111–121 cm (44–48 in) at the shoulder, while the height of the females is 106–116 cm (42–46 in). The black wildebeest is characterised by its white, long, horse-like tail. It also has a dark brown to black coat and long, dark-coloured hair between its forelegs and under its belly.
The giant sable antelope or royal sable antelope, also known in Portuguese as the palanca-negra-gigante, is a large, rare subspecies of the sable antelope native and endemic to the region between the Cuango and Luando Rivers in Angola.
The blue wildebeest, also called the common wildebeest, white-bearded wildebeest, or brindled gnu, is a large antelope and one of the two species of wildebeest. It is placed in the genus Connochaetes and family Bovidae, and has a close taxonomic relationship with the black wildebeest. The blue wildebeest is known to have five subspecies. This broad-shouldered antelope has a muscular, front-heavy appearance, with a distinctive, robust muzzle. Young blue wildebeest are born tawny brown, and begin to take on their adult coloration at the age of 2 months. The adults' hues range from a deep slate or bluish-gray to light gray or even grayish-brown. Both sexes possess a pair of large curved horns.
The red hartebeest is a species of even-toed ungulate in the family Bovidae found in Southern Africa. More than 130,000 individuals live in the wild. The red hartebeest is closely related to the tsessebe and the topi.
The topi is a subspecies of the common tsessebe. It is a highly social and fast type of antelope found in the savannas, semi-deserts, and floodplains of sub-Saharan Africa.
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