AskDefine | Define hartebeest

Dictionary Definition

hartebeest n : a large African antelope with lyre-shaped horns that curve backward

Extensive Definition

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.
The Hartebeest stands almost 1.5 m (5 ft) at the shoulder and weighs 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 three hundred and fifty.


Six subspecies have been described, previously seven when it stil included the Red Hartebeest which is now considered a distinct species after phylogeographic studies .
  • Bubal Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus buselaphus (Extinct)
  • Coke's Hartebeest or Kongoni, Alcelaphus buselaphus cokii
  • Lelwel Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus lelwel
  • Western Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus major
  • Swayne's Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus swaynei
  • Tora Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus tora
Two subspecies cross breeds are recognised by some sectors 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).

See also

hartebeest in Arabic: ثيتل
hartebeest in Czech: Buvolec stepní
hartebeest in German: Kuhantilope
hartebeest in Spanish: Alcelaphus buselaphus
hartebeest in Esperanto: Stepa alcelafo
hartebeest in French: Alcelaphus buselaphus
hartebeest in Italian: Alcelaphus buselaphus
hartebeest in Lithuanian: Galvijinė antilopė
hartebeest in Dutch: Hartenbeest
hartebeest in Polish: Bawolec
hartebeest in Portuguese: Búbalu
hartebeest in Swedish: Hartebeest
hartebeest in Chinese: 狷羚
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