blackbuck, small antelope, Antilope cervicapra, found in semidesert plains and open forest throughout India. Males are dark brown above and white below, with white rings around the eyes; they stand about 32 in. (81 cm) at the shoulder and weigh about 90 lb (41 kg). Their heavily ridged, corkscrew-shaped horns are about 18 in. (45 cm) long. The smaller, hornless females are fawn-colored above and white below. Blackbucks graze in herds of 10 to 100 individuals and, unlike most antelopes, graze mostly by day, even in intense heat. They are extremely swift animals; a cheetah can run down a blackbuck, but only if it overtakes it in the first few hundred yards. They have been hunted intensively by humans, sometimes with the aid of trained Asian cheetahs (now extinct in India), and have suffered extensive habitat reduction, and blackbucks now survive mainly in reserves. They are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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