The blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra ), also known as the Indian antelope, is an antelope native to India and Nepal. It inhabits grassy plains and lightly forested areas with perennial water sources.It stands up to 74 to 84 cm (29 to 33 in) high at the shoulder. Males weigh 20–57 kg (44–126 lb), with an average of 38 kg (84 lb). Females are lighter, weighing 20–33 kg (44–73 lb) or 27 kg (60 lb) on average. Males have 35–75 cm (14–30 in) long, ringed horns, though females may develop horns as well. The white fur on the chin and around the eyes is in sharp contrast with the black stripes on the face. The coats of males show a two-tone colouration; while the upper parts and outsides of the legs are dark brown to black, the underparts and the insides of the legs are white. Females and juveniles are yellowish fawn to tan. The blackbuck is the sole living member of the genus Antilope and was scientifically described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. Two subspecies are recognized.Show More
The blackbuck is active mainly during the day. It forms three type of small groups, female, male, and bachelor herds. Males often adopt lekking as a strategy to garner females for mating. While other males are not allowed into these territories, females often visit these places to forage. The male can thus attempt mating with her. The blackbuck is a herbivore and grazes on low grasses, occasionally browsing as well. Females become sexually mature at the age of eight months, but mate no earlier than two years of age. Males mature later, at 1.5 years. Mating takes place throughout the year. Gestation is typically six months long, after which a single calf is born. The lifespan is typically 10 to 15 years.
The antelope is native to and found mainly in India, while it is locally extinct in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Formerly widespread, only small, scattered herds are seen today, largely confined to protected areas. During the 20th century, blackbuck numbers declined sharply due to excessive hunting, deforestation, and habitat degradation. The blackbuck has been introduced in Argentina and the United States. In India, hunting of blackbuck is prohibited under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. The blackbuck has significance in Hinduism; Indian and Nepali villagers do not harm the antelope.Show Less
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example, foliage, for the main component of its die...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
A cursorial organism is one that is adapted specifically to run. An animal can be considered cursorial if it has the ability to run fast (e.g. chee...
Precocial species are those in which the young are relatively mature and mobile from the moment of birth or hatching. Precocial species are normall...
Grazing is a method of feeding in which a herbivore feeds on plants such as grasses, or other multicellular organisms such as algae. In agriculture...
Browsing is a type of herbivory in which an herbivore (or, more narrowly defined, a folivore) feeds on leaves, soft shoots, or fruits of high-growi...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
A herd is a social grouping of certain animals of the same species, either wild or domestic. The form of collective animal behavior associated with...
A dominance hierarchy (formerly and colloquially called a pecking order) is a type of social hierarchy that arises when members of animal social gr...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
The blackbuck is a species of antelope with a slender and elegant body. The blackbucks have pointed and delicate hooves. They possess narrow, sheep-like muzzles and short tails. Horns are found only in males. The coloration of this species depends on gender: the back, the sides, and the outer side of the legs are rich dark brown in males and yellowish in females. Both males and females have white underparts including the insides of the legs as well as a white ring around their eyes. During their lives, male blackbucks gradually become darker. The horns of males are ringed at the base, twisted in a spiral with up to four turns.
The main area of their habitat is India and eastern Pakistan. They live in grassy plains and thinly forested areas where perennial water sources are available for their daily need to drink. Herds travel long distances to obtain water.
Blackbucks are social animals, living in herds that include from 5 to 50 individuals. The herd of blackbucks is a harem by its structure: it consists of an adult male and numerous females with their young. In the cool season, the blackbucks are diurnal while during the hot season, they spend most of the day resting in shady areas, being active mainly in the morning and late afternoon. They are very cautious and shy. Although they lack a strong sense of smell or hearing, they have good eyesight, which helps them detect dangers and react on time. When a blackbuck is in danger, it jumps in the air and runs away, followed by the whole herd.
Being herbivores, blackbucks feed upon fruits, flowers, herbs, shrubs, pods as well as grasses
They have polygynous mating system, where one male mates with more than one female. During the rut, the male establishes its own territory, aggressively defending it from other males of the area. Rutting males give out loud grunts and fight each other, using their horns. The blackbucks mate all year round while the peak of rutting season is March-April and August-October. After a gestation period of 6 months, the female gives birth to a single baby. The baby blackbuck is able to run shortly after birth. Then, over a year, the young lives with its mother. Males reach sexual maturity at 3 years old while females - a bit earlier, at 2 years old.
One of the most serious threats to this species’ population is the destruction of habitat. At the moment, much of their original habitat has been destructed by humans, turned into agricultural areas. Moreover, near farming areas, these animals are frequently killed by local people because of raiding crops. In addition, blackbucks attract hunters for their meat and, primarily, for their majestic horns.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population of blackbucks is around 50,000 individuals. The IUCN has listed this species as Near Threatened (NT) though the population is currently stable.
These animals are important plant consumers of the ecosystem of their habitat. On the other hand, they themselves are prey for a number of predators such as leopards, wolves, and cheetahs.
Social animals are those animals that interact highly with other animals, usually of their own species (conspecifics), to the point of having a rec...