Physical descriptionThe black rhinoceros has two horns, and occasionally a third small posterior horn. The anterior horn is longer than the posterior, averaging 50cm long.
The species is distinguished from the white rhino by a prehensile upper lip (hence the alternative name of hook-lipped rhino), which it uses to feed on twigs of woody plants and a variety of herbaceous plants.
Size: 800-1,400 kg.
Colour: Dark yellow brown to dark brown or dark gray.
Black rhinos are mainly found in grassland-forest transition zones, but are present in habitats ranging from desert in south-western Africa to montane forests in Kenya.
The species is usually restricted to areas within about 25km of water sources. Black rhinos can often be found in mud or water wallows, where they cool themselves.
Adult black rhinos are mostly solitary, although they may form groups of 12 individuals. Mother and daughters may stay together for long periods of time, while females that do not have offspring join a neighbouring female.
Conflict usually arises when outsiders enter an area already utilized by a clan. During courtship, conflicts over a female may result in the death of one of the competing males.
Black rhino calves begin to wean at about 2 months of age. Although females reach sexual maturity at 4-5 years, they do not have their first calf until they are 6.5-7 years old. Males need to wait until they are 10-12 years old before they can claim a territory and mate. Black rhinos may reach 40-50 years of age.
Breeding is reported to occur throughout the year. The gestation period is between 419 and 478 days, with an average interval of 2.5-3.5 years between calves.