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Last updated date: 25th Feb 2024
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What is a Blackbuck Animal?

About Blackbuck Antelope: Antilope cervicapra, also known as the Indian antelope, is an antelope that is native to India and Nepal. It prefers grassy plains and lightly forested areas with year-round water. It can reach a height of 74 to 84 cm (29 to 33 in) at the elbow. Males weigh between 20 and 57 kilogrammes (44 and 126 pounds), with an average of 38 kilogrammes (84 lb). Blackbuck females are smaller, weighing an average of 20–33 kg (44–73 lb) or 27 kg (60 lb). Males have ringed horns that are 35–75 cm (14–30 in) long, while females can grow horns as well. The black streaks on the face contrast sharply with the white fur on the chin and around the paws.

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Blackbuck Animal Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia

  • Phylum: Chordata

  • Class: Mammalia

  • Order: Artiodactyla

  • Family: Bovidae

  • Subfamily: Antilopinae

  • Genus: Antilope

  • Species: A. cervicapra

Blackbuck Deer Etymology

Antilope cervicapra is the scientific name for the blackbuck. Its scientific name is antalopus, which is derived from the Latin word antalopus ("horned animal"). The Latin words cervus ("deer") and capra ("tail") combine to form the specific name cervicapra ("she-goat"). The common name "blackbuck" refers to the males' dorsal (upper) coat colour, which ranges from dark brown to black. The first documented use of this name was in 1850. "Indian antelope," kadiyal, kala hiran, krishna mriga in Kannada, krishnasaar in Hindi; kalvit in Marathi; krishna jinka in Telugu); and iralai maan in Tamil are some of the other names for the blackbuck.

Antilope Cervicapra Habitat

Blackbucks are native to the Indian subcontinent, but they have become extinct in Pakistan and Bangladesh. The last living blackbuck population in Nepal is found south of Bardia National Park in the Blackbuck Conservation Area. In 2008, 184 blackbucks were projected to be in the population. Blackbuck is rarely seen along Pakistan's border with India. The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras campus has a few blackbucks.

The blackbuck prefers grassy plains and sparsely forested areas with perennial water supplies to meet its everyday water needs. Herds travel great distances in search of water. Only tiny, dispersed herds are visible today, and they are often restricted to protected areas.

In 1932, the antelope was introduced to Texas' Edwards Plateau. By 1988, the population had grown, and the antelope had surpassed the chital as Texas' most populated exotic species. The population of the United States was projected to be 35,000 in the early 2000s. The blackbuck was introduced to Argentina in the early 2000s, with an estimated population of 8,600 individuals.

Antilope Cervicapra Characteristics

Although the blackbuck is a diurnal antelope, it is less active at noon when the temperature rises in the summer. It can travel at a top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph).

The size of the group varies, and it appears to be influenced by the availability of forage and the habitat's characteristics. Large herds have an advantage over smaller herds in that danger can be detected quicker, despite the fact that individual vigilance is lower in the latter. When compared to small herds, large herds spend more time feeding. Large herds, on the other hand, face the drawback of requiring more money to fly. In the season, the herd size shrinks.

Males also use lekking as a tool for attracting females for mating. Males create territories based on the local distribution of female groups, which is determined by habitat, in order to ensure easier access to females. The males aggressively protect resources in their territories, which range in size from 1.2 to 12 hectares (3.0 to 29.7 acres; 0.0046 to 0.0463 square miles); territories are marked with scent from the preorbital and interdigital glands, faeces, and urine. While other males are not permitted to enter these territories, females are permitted to do so in order to forage.

Blackbuck Animal Diet

The blackbuck is a herbivore that grazes on low grasses and browses on occasion. It prefers sedges, fall witchgrass, mesquite, and live oak, and has been seen in the Cholistan Desert browsing on acacia trees. Captive populations found oats and berseem to be palatable and nutritious. Dichanthium annulatum made up 35% of the Velavadar Black Buck Sanctuary's diet. Summer digestion of nutrients, especially crude proteins, is bad, but rainy and winter digestion is better. The amount of crude protein consumed during the summer is extremely low, well below the recommended amount. In the summer, blackbuck eats less food than in the winter and foraged on the fruits of Prosopis julifl.

Blackbuck Animal Reproduction

Females reach sexual maturity at the age of eight months, but they do not mate until they are two years old. Males reach sexual maturity at the age of one and a half years. Mating takes place all year, with peaks in the spring and fall in Texas. In India, two peaks have been observed: in August and October, and in March and April. Rutting males fiercely build and protect their territories from other males, grunting loudly and engaging in serious head-to-head battles in which they push each other with their horns. Thrusting the neck forward and raising it, folding the head, and raising the tail are all examples of aggressive display. With his nose pointed upward, the dominant male pursues the female and smells her urine.

Waving her tail and thumping her hind legs on the deck, the female expresses her receptivity. Following that, there are some mounting attempts and copulation. The entire procedure could take up to six hours. After copulation, the female will remain still for a while before beginning to graze. After that, the male could choose to mate with another female.

A single calf is usually born after a six-month gestation period. Newborns are a light yellow colour, with a black patch on the head and neck of males. Young children are precocious, able to stand on their own shortly after birth. After a month of parturition, females will mate again. Throughout the day, children are engaged and playful.

Male juveniles gradually turn black, darkening noticeably after the third year. The average lifespan is 10 to 15 years.

Blackbuck Conservation in India

The blackbuck is listed in Appendix III of the CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 prohibits the hunting of blackbuck in India. It can be found in a number of India's protected areas, including

  1. Velavadar Wildlife Sanctuary and  Gir Forest National Park (Gujarat)

  2. Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary(Bihar)

  3. Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary(Maharashtra)

  4. Kanha National Park(Madhya Pradesh)

  5. Tal Chhapar Sanctuary, National Chambal Sanctuary and Ranthambhore National Park(Rajasthan)

  6. Ranibennur Blackbuck Sanctuary(Karnataka)

  7. Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary, Vallanadu Wildlife Sanctuary and Guindy National Park. (Tamil Nadu)

FAQs on Blackbuck

1. What is the Blackbuck Population in India?

Ans) Blackbuck once roamed the open plains of the Indian subcontinent, but as the human population has increased, their numbers and range have shrunk dramatically. The overall blackbuck population fell from 80,000 in 1947 to 8,000 in 1964 but has since recovered to 25,000 in protected areas.

2. Do Blackbuck Females Have Horns?

Ans) The adult male's long, spiralling horns, which have ridges from the base to almost the tips, are the most striking characteristic of blackbucks. Females are devoid of horns.

3. What are the Two Subspecies of Blackbuck?

Ans) A. c. cervicapra- Southern, eastern, and central India are home to the southeastern blackbuck. The male's white eye-ring is narrow above the eye, his neck is all black, and the white on the underside of both males and females are mostly limited to the abdomen. The blackleg stripe is clearly marked and runs the entire length of the leg.

A. c. rajputanae-The northern blackbuck, also known as the northwestern blackbuck, is found in northwestern India. During the breeding season, males' dark sections have a grey sheen. The white on the underside of males' bodies reaches up to halfway down the sides of their bodies, and the lower base of their neck is white. The white eye-ring is wide all the way around the eye, and the leg-stripe just reaches the shanks.