The blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) antelope is native to the Indian subcontinent. Blackbucks generally resemble gazelle, with the males being larger than females. Both sexes are white on the belly, around the eyes and on the inside of the legs. They differ in coloration of the head and back. Female and young blackbucks are yellowish-fawn colored on the back and on the outside of the limbs; the lower parts are white. The two colors are sharply divided by a distinct pale lateral band. Older males are blackish brown on the back, on the sides and front of the neck. They become almost black with age, only the nape remains brownish, and the pale lateral band disappears. Only males have horns that “corkscrew” upward in a V-shape with a 1-4 tight spirals. Horns can be as long as 28 inches.
Blackbucks tend to inhabit open grasslands and are primarily diurnal. They are primarily grazers and require water every day. When alarmed, the herd disperses in high leaps and bounds, and then breaks off into a quick gallop. Males use horns in displaying rituals to attract females and fighting for breeding rights during the rut. Males will lock horns and push against each other until one male concedes defeat.
Breeding can occur throughout the year, with peaks seen from August to October and March to April. The gestation period is five months thereby allowing them to breed twice a year. They usually give birth to only 1 young at a time. Blackbuck reach sexual maturity at a year and a half with the does as young as eight months.
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