The word hartebeest is derived the Dutch word for deer, hertebeest. In general, they stand nearly 5 feet at the shoulder (1.5m) and weigh between 265-440 lbs. (120-200 kg). Their body style is more muscular than other antelope with high withers and sloping hindquarters. Their elongated head gives them a horsey countenance.
Both males and females have horns that can extend as long as 27 inches (70 cm).
The shape of the hartebeest's horns is one way to determine the specific subspecies. There are three basic horn patterns for the hartebeests:
• The U-shaped horns distinguish hartebeests that graze in the west African countries of Cambela, Nigeria, and Cameroon.
• The V-shaped horns are found on hartebeests in southern Africa.
There are many subspecies of hartebeests: Coke's, Jackson's, Red, Swayne's , Lelwel, Tora, and Bubal to name a few. Only one is extinct, the Bubal Hartebeest. The Bubal Hartebeests were once domesticated by the Egyptians as a food source. Horns from the Bubal Hartebeest found in the tombs at Abadiyeh give credence to the animal's importance to ancient Egyptian culture. Unfortunately, the Bubal Hartebeest was widely hunted, and the last Bubal Hartebeest died in 1923 in the Paris Zoo.
Picture of the red hartebeest by Hans Hillewaert, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
The Common hartebeest, hartebeest is listed as Conservation Dependent (LR/cd), the focus of a continuing taxon-specific or habitat-specific conservation programme targeted towards the taxon in question, the cessation of which would result in the taxon qualifying for one of the threatened categories below within a period of five years, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species