Sable antelope

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Sable antelope
Male sable antelope near the Kafue River in Zambia

Male sable antelope near the Kafue River in Zambia

without rank: Forehead weapon bearer (Pecora)
Family : Horned Bearers (Bovidae)
Subfamily : Antilopinae
Tribe : Horse rams (Hippotragini)
Genre : Horse antelopes ( Hippotragus )
Type : Sable antelope
Scientific name
Hippotragus niger
( Harris , 1838)
Female sable antelope

The sable antelope ( Hippotragus niger ) is an African antelope from the group of rams with a noticeable sexual dimorphism . The males have a black and white coat, while females and young animals have a reddish brown.


The sable antelope reaches a shoulder height of up to 1.4 meters and weighs up to 250 kilograms. The horns are up to 1.64 meters long. It is thus somewhat smaller and lighter than the roan antelope , but has significantly longer horns that are slightly curved backwards. The horns are strongly curled and are worn by both sexes.

The sable antelope is noticeable by the pitch-black coat of the males, which is sharply delineated on the belly. Females and young males are red to dark brown.


Distribution area of ​​the sable antelope

The distribution area extends from Kenya over the steppes of East Africa (e.g. Tanzania ) to southern Africa. Sable antelopes usually live in a dry, open and tree-strewn landscape. Permanent water and medium-high or tall grass should be available. Their main food is grass, but they also occasionally eat leaves.

Way of life

The females live with their young in herds of ten to thirty animals. Males are solitary animals who claim any female that crosses their territory. Males who have not yet reached the age of six are not strong enough to defend their own territory; they get together to form their own bachelor associations.

An investigation into the diet of the sable antelope in Zimbabwe has shown that sable antelopes are dependent on watering holes. They never move more than a kilometer from water and drink daily. They eat grass and graze it to a height of four centimeters above the ground. They will not eat grass that is less than four centimeters high. After rains, when the grass begins to sprout again, they are one of the last species that can tap into the newly regrown food resources.

Threat and protection

There are about 60,000 sable antelopes left. The species is classified as not endangered by the IUCN . However, the giant sable antelope ( Hippotragus niger variani ), a subspecies from Angola , is considered critically endangered. Another very rare subspecies is the East African sable antelope ( Hippotragus niger roosevelti ).


  • CA Spinage: The Natural History of Antelopes . Croom Helm, London 1986, ISBN 0-7099-4441-1

Web links

Commons : Sable Antelope  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Single receipts

  1. Spinage, p. 183
  2. Spinage, p. 56.