The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Red Hartebeest

Afrikaans name: Rooihartbees

A Red Hartebeest looks back at the camera in Weenen Game Reserve

Red Hartebeest in Weenen Game Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert

Alcelaphus caama

Interesting facts about Red Hartebeest

The Red Hartebeest is an attractively coloured antelope. Males are larger than females and can weigh up to 150 kg. Females tend to weigh around 120 kg. Both sexes have horns.

The horns of the Red Hartebeest are of an unusual shape. When looked at in side profile they go backwards, then forwards and then backwards again. From the front they have the shape of a heart (without the top bit!)

The Red Hartebeest apparently has poor eye sight and relies more on its hearing and sense of smell. When startled by a predator they run in a zigzag pattern. They can reach a speed of over 50 km per hour.

Side profile of a Red Hartebeest

Side profile showing the interesting shape of the horns

Photo © Steven Herbert

Their main food item is grass.

The Red Hartebeest is normally found in small herds in grasslands, savanna and other more open habitats.

References and further reading

Wild Ways - 2nd Edition - Author: Peter Apps - Published: 2000 - Page: 148

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 232

What Antelope is That? - Author: Paul Rose - Published: 1967 - Page: 57

The Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa - Author: P. Briggs - Published: 2020 - Page: 331

Tracks and Tracking in Southern Africa - Author: Louis Liebenberg - Published: 2000 - Page: 133

The Mammal Guide of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Burger Cillie - Published: 2011 - Page: 76

South African Animals in the Wild - Author: Anthony Bannister - Published: 1985 - Page: 27

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 53

Signs of the Wild - 3rd Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Published: 1986 - Page: 195

Signs of the Wild - 5th Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Published: 1996 - Page: 180

Mammals of the Kruger and other National Parks - Author: The National Parks Board - Published: 1980 - Page: 130

Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1997 - Page: 148

Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 2001 - Page: 206

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 195

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 415

Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Burger Cillie - Published: 1987 - Page: 91

Maberlys Mammals of Southern Africa - Revised edition - Author: Richard Goss - Published: 1986 - Page: 240

Land Mammals of Southern Africa - A field guide - Author: Reay HN Smithers - Published: 1986 - Page: 159

Chris and Tilde Stuarts Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 1st Edit - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1988 - Page: 206

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Published: 2004 - Page: 163

An Introduction to the Larger Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Joanna Dalton - Published: 1987 - Page: 207

African Wildlife - A photographic safari - Author: Nigel and Wendy Dennis - Published: 1999 - Page: 60

A Field Guide to the Tracks & Signs of Southern and East African Wildlife - 3rd - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 2000 - Page: 78

A Field Guide to the Mammals of Africa including Madagascar - Author: Theodor Haltenorth and Helmut Diller - Published: 1980 - Page: 82


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List of South African Mammals

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