Hartebeests look a little unusual because their horns grow from a single boney plate on top of the head. This antelope used to be widely distributed. Today, the species’ habitat has been turned over to cattle pasture, and the hartebeests now live in several fragmented populations. These are centred on Botswana and Namibia in the south and the East African savannah.
Hartebeests are large antelopes. There are several subspecies that live in different parts of Africa; they are identified chiefly by the shape of their horns, which grow on both males and females.
Hartebeest live in large herds. They once gathered into herds of 10,000, but today a group of 300 is more normal. The herd is organized into four types of subgroups. Females and their young form the largest subgroups. The next subgroup contains two-year-old males. They may be sexually mature but are still growing and are rarely sexually active. The other subgroupings are solitary adult males - above the age of three. Younger adult males defend a territory within the herd. Males older than seven have generally been forced from their territories.
Distribution: East and south-western Africa.
Habitat: Grasslands and woodlands.
Size: 1.5 - 2.4 m (5 - 8 ft); 75 - 200 kg (165.25 - 441 lb).
Maturity: 12 months.
Breeding: Single calves born at all times of year.
Life span: 20 years.
Status: Lower risk.