Grazing Male Blackbuck

Blackbucks are slender with a head-to-body length of about 120 cm (47 in). They are about 73.7 to 83.8 cm (29.0 to 33.0 in) high at the shoulder. Males are larger than females. Adult males range in weight from 34 to 45 kg (75 to 99 lb); females weigh 31 to 39 kg (68 to 86 lb). Their tail is short and compressed. Both sexes are white around the eyes, on the belly, and on the inside of the legs. They differ in the coloration of the head and back. Female and young blackbucks are yellowish-fawn coloured on the back and on the outside of the limbs; the lower parts are white. The two colours are sharply divided by a distinct pale lateral band. Old bucks are blackish brown on the back, the sides, and the front of the neck. They become almost black with age; only the nape remains brownish rufous, and the pale lateral band disappears. Only males have horns that are diverging, cylindrical, spiral, and ringed throughout.

Blackbucks generally live on open plains and open woodlands in herds of five to 50 animals with one dominant male. They are very fast. Speeds of more than 80 km/h (50 mph) have been recorded.They are primarily grazers and avoid forested areas. They require water every day and may move long distances in search of water and forage in summer. Usually, they feed during the day. Their diet consists mostly of grasses, but they have occasionally been observed browsing on acacia trees in the Cholistan Desert. In the Velavadar National Park, they were observed feeding on pods of Prosopis juliflora during seasonal lows in forage quality.Their chief predator was the Asiatic cheetah, now extinct in India. Currently, wolves are the main predators of both fawns and adults. Fawns are also hunted by jackals. Village dogs are reported to kill fawns, but are unlikely to successfully hunt and kill adults.

Blackbuck MaleThe solitary grazer during the morning hours at Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar

Canon 7D Sigma 150-500mm | Feb 2015

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