Blackbuck Fact File
Wild 15-18 years
Captive 15-18 years
Blackbuck or Indian antelope, as they are also known are found across the Indian subcontinent. Their range has been significantly reduced through hunting and habitat clearance.
Females can give birth to a single fawn year round which is raised on milk for 2 months.
Males and females are easily distinguished by the large pair of spiraling horns which are present on top of the head. These can be used to defend themselves against other males.
Learn more about these amazing antelopes by reading on below.
Blackbuck exhibit a marked form of sexual dimorphism. Dominant males give the species their name with the dark black coat. Females by contrast are a light fawn color as are young males which are yet to become dominant. The underside and lower chest region is colored white. White fur is also present on the rump, muzzle and in a ring around the eye.
At the end of the body is a short tail measuring 18cm (7in) in length.
On top of the head of a male is a pair of large, spiraling horns. These project up to 68cm (27in) long. These may have up to 5 turns in each.
These twisted horns are created through the horn growing faster at some times and slower at others.
The body of an adult will measure up to 1.2m (4ft) long with a height at the shoulder of between 60 and 85cm (23.6-33.5in) tall. An average weight for this species is between 32 and 43kg (71 to 95lbs).
Females are smaller than males.
Blackbucks are herbivores which feed on a range of grasses including cereal crops. When a lack of grass is present they will feed on flowers and fruit.
They must drink each day restricting their range to areas near water.
Asia is the native home of the blackbuck. Here they are found primarily in India with a small population also found in Nepal.
Former populations in Bangladesh and Pakistan have since gone extinct.
Introduced populations of the blackbuck can be found in Argentina, Australia and the United States. In the US the population is found in Texas. In Australia populations have been introduced in Western Australia and Queensland but the population in Queensland is now thought to have been eradicated.
Blackbuck are found in open grassland, dry scrub and lightly wooded area. They may also venture in to agriculture areas where they forage in fields.
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Females can produce young year round but births tend to peak twice a year. She may produce up to two fawns each year.
After a 5-6 month gestation the female will give birth to a single fawn.
For the first two weeks of their life the fawn is hidden away in tall grass. After this they are large enough to move around with the herd. This fawn is weaned off of milk at 2 months old.
Sexual maturity is achieved by 15 months old.
Males defend a territory where they will live with a harem of females and their young. Males defend this harem by fighting other males using their horns. These groups include between 10 and 15 individuals.
A male maintains his territory by scent marking bushes and trees.
Much of a blackbuck’s day is spent grazing including during warm temperatures. They will only seek shade during the hottest 2-3 hours in the day.
These animals can run at 80km/h (50mph) to try and escape predators. While running they may perform a leap in to the air.
It is thought that these athletic displays while running signal their health to predators thus discouraging the predators attempt to catch them.
Predators and Threats
Natural predators of the blackbuck include tigers, jackals, leopards, cheetah, wolves and wild dogs.
Habitat destruction mainly for conversion to agricultural use and hunting are the main threats to this species. In some areas this habitat conversion has the opposite effect and will instead create suitable habitat through clearing of dense scrub and woodland.
In India the blackbuck enjoys full protection under law.
Current population estimates indicate 10,000 blackbuck can be found in the wild. This is a significant decrease on the estimated 4 million which existed 100 years ago.
The blackbuck is also known as the Indian antelope.
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