Hippotragus leucophaeus (Pallas, 1766:4)

Bluebuck, Blue antelope, Blaauwbok, Blaubok, Etaac (Krefft, 1864:97), Blaue bock (Gray, 1843:158)



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Ægocerus leucophæus (Pallas, 1766:4); Antilope leucophaea Pallas, 1766:4; Antilope leucophæa Pallas, 1766:4 (original combination); (See Krefft, 1864:97-98 for a large list)


Conservation Status


Last record: 1799 (Fisher & Blomberg, 2012); 1800 (Goodwin & Goodwin, 1973; Gippoliti et al. 2017); 1858 (unconfirmed; Groves & Grubb, 2011:198)

IUCN RedList status: Extinct


This species seems to have had a very limited distribution since the last ice age, given the fact that it was hunted to extinction within 80 years of it first being described in detail by (Kolb, 1719). Historically it seems to have been restricted to Cape Province, where over-hunting is believed to have driven it extinct. However, for a species hunted so much very little extant material can be assigned to this taxa. Another sad irony in the tale of the Blue Antelope.



Swellendam district, Cape Province/Colony, South Africa


Biology & Ecology




Please note that this entire section will need to be rewritten in light of (Hempel et al., 2021; Plaxton et al., 2023).


According to (Mohr, 1967; Robinson et. al. 1996) the extant material of the Bluebuck consists of a skull ("of dubious provenance"), two sets of horns, and four mounted specimens. However, it seems that (Robinson et. al. 1996) based the hypodigm of Hippotragus leucophaeus solely on (Mohr, 1967), and therefore omitted two possible new specimens discovered since (Mohr, 1967) was published, but before their own paper. Erdbrink (1988) identified a hippotragine skull (ZMA 18.623) as probably belonging to H. leucophaeus (i.e. "Hippotragus cf. leucophaeus") (acknowledgement must also go to Dr. van Bree who first noticed this skull during a review of the collection held by the University of Amsterdam). And (Ozinsky, 1989) reported what are probably another pair of horns (SAM-ZM40759). Rookmaaker (1992) listed and discussed all known specimens.


Krefft (1864) lists a pair of horns in the Australian Museum, Sydney, but as these are not mentioned elsewhere this may simply be an error in taxonomic assignation.


Innumerable sub-fossil remains have also been excavated at various sites in South Africa. For example, (Klein, 1976:77) reports a minimum of 52 sub-fossil individuals from Klasies River Mouth Cave 1 alone.


[b]Extant material (sub-fossil and recent):[/b]


GLAHM Z4884 (skull, see here)

SAM-ZM40759 (pair of horns)

ZMA 18.623 (skull with horns)


[NB: the above list is incomplete]


Ward (1892:140-141) lists and gives measurements for many specimens. Thus because this is in conflict with the small hypodigm as corroborated by all other authors it is likely an error on his part. And judging by the fact that he gives the common name of the species as "Roan Antelope" it seems that he is actually referring to Hippotragus equinus.


Renshaw (1904) mentions specimens that seem to no longer exist, or are untraceable at least.






Original scientific description:

Pallas, Peter Simon. (1766). Miscellanea zoologica quibus novae imprimis atque obscurae ani­malium species describuntur et observationibus iconibusque illustrantur. The Hague, Netherlands: Petrum van Cleef. i­xii + 1-224 pp., pls. 1-14.


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