Bontebok in Etosha National Park, Namibia
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Alcelaphinae
Genus: Damaliscus
Species: D. pygargus
Binomial name
Damaliscus pygargus
(Pallas, 1767)
  • Damaliscus pygargus pygarus
  • Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi
Bontebok head

The Bontebok is an antelope found in South Africa and Lesotho. The Bontebok has two subspecies; the endangered Bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygarus),[2] occurring naturally in the Fynbos and Renosterveld areas of the Western Cape, and the Blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi) occurring in the highveld.

The Bontebok stands 80 to 100 cm at the shoulder and weighs 50 to 90 kg. The Bontebok is a chocolate brown colour, with a white underside and a white stripe from the forehead to the tip of the nose, although there is a brown stripe across the white near the eyes in most Blesbok. Bontebok also has a distinctive white patch around its tail (whence the Latin name), while this patch is light brown/tan in Blesbok. The horns of Bontebok are lyre-shaped and clearly ringed they are found in both sexes and can reach a length of half a metre.

Blesbok live in highveld where they eat short grasses, while Bontebok are restricted to coastal Fynbos and Renosterveld (Skead, 1980). They are diurnal, though they rest during the heat of the day. Herds contain only males, only females or are mixed and do not exceed forty animals for Bonteboks or seventy for Blesboks.

Bontebok are not good jumpers but they are very good at crawling under things. Mature males form territories and face down other males in displays and occasionally combat.

Bontebok were once extensively killed as pests, and were reduced to a wild population of just seventeen animals, but the species has since recovered. Blesbok are extinct in their natural habitat but they have increased in population to the point where they are now very abundant and avidly farmed, because they are popular quarry for hunters and are easy to sustain.


  1. ^ Lloyd, P. & David, J. (2008). Damaliscus pygargus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 5 April 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.
  2. ^ Wilson, Don E.; Reeder, DeeAnn M., eds (2005). Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2 vols. (2142 pp.). ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  • SKEAD, C.J. 1980. Historical mammal incidence in the Cape Province Volume 1. The Department of Nature and Environmental Conservation of the Provincial Administration of the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • bontebok — [bän′tə bäk΄] n. pl. bontebok or bonteboks [Afrik < Du bont, variegated + bok,BUCK1] a large, dark brown antelope (Damaliscus dorcas dorcas) of S Africa, white on the face and rump: see BLESBOK …   English World dictionary

  • Bontebok — Bon te*bok, n. [D. bont a sort of skin or fur, prop. variegated + bok buck.] (Zo[ o]l.) The pied antelope of South Africa ({Alcelaphus pygarga}). Its face and rump are white. Called also {nunni}. [1913 Webster] || …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bontebok — ● bontebok nom masculin Antilope très voisine du blesbok …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Bontebok — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Toponyme Bontebok, village néerlandais de la commune de Heerenveen, en Frise. Zoologie Bontebok ou Blesbok, mammifère de la famille des bovidés …   Wikipédia en Français

  • bontebok — baltasnukė antilopė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Damaliscus dorcas angl. blesbok; bontebok; bontebuck vok. Bleßbock; Buntbock rus. беломордый бубал; бентбок pranc. blesbok; bontebok ryšiai:… …   Žinduolių pavadinimų žodynas

  • bontebok — /bon tee bok /, n., pl. bonteboks, (esp. collectively) bontebok. a purplish red antelope, Damaliscus dorcas, of southern Africa, having a white face and rump: now nearly extinct. [1780 90; < Afrik, equiv. to bont piebald ( ML punctus dotted; see… …   Universalium

  • bontebok — noun A South African antelope of genus Damaliscus …   Wiktionary

  • bontebok — [ bɒntəbɒk] noun (plural same or bonteboks) an antelope with a reddish brown coat and white face, found in eastern South Africa. [Damaliscus dorcas dorcas.] Origin C18: from Afrik., from Du. bont pied + bok buck …   English new terms dictionary

  • bontebok — bon·te·bok …   English syllables

  • bontebok —   n. reddish, white faced antelope of S Africa …   Dictionary of difficult words

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