Hartebeest stand almost 1.5 m (5 ft) at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 120–200 kg (265–440 lb). Male hartebeest are a dark brown colour while females are yellow brown. Both sexes have horns which can reach lengths up to 70 cm (27 in). Hartebeest live in grassland and open forest where they eat grass. They are diurnal and spend the morning and late afternoon eating. Herds contain five to twenty individuals but can occasionally contain up to 350. Six subspecies have been described, previously seven when it still included the Red
Hartebeest, which is now considered a distinct species after phylogeographic studies.
* †Bubal Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus buselaphus (Extinct)
* Coke's Hartebeest or Kongoni, Alcelaphus buselaphus cokii
* Lelwel Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus lelwel
* Western Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus major
* Swayne's Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus swaynei
* Tora Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus tora
Two subspecies cross-breeds are recognized by some sectors of the commercial hunting
* Kenya Highland Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus lelwel x cokii
* Neumann Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus lelwel x swaynei. (Ethiopia)
* Red Hartebeest Alcelaphus caama.
* Lichtenstein's Hartebeest, Alcelaphus lichtensteinii is classified by some in
the Sigmoceros genus as Sigmoceros lichtensteinii. Two other species less commonly known as 'hartebeest' are classed in the Damaliscus genus.
* Korrigum (Senegal Hartebeest), Damaliscus lunatus korrigum
* Tiang (Tiang Hartebeest), Damaliscus lunatus tiang
The word hartebeest comes from Afrikaans and was originally called hertebeest. The name was given by the Boers who thought it resembled deer (hert in Dutch, the Dutch beest means 'beast' in English).