The hartebeest feeds on grasses, its narrow head suited to selecting the lush grass leaves from amongst the poor quality stems and stalks (5). They are gregarious animals that are normally seen feeding in herds of around 20, but when there is an abundance of fresh grass, hundreds or even thousands may gather. In arid areas they will travel vast distances in search of fresh grass (4).
Adult males are territorial and mark out an area with dung (2), with herds of females and their young moving between male territories and staying temporarily within those that contain the best quality grazing. Non-territorial males form loose bachelor herds and occupy the area around territories which often have poor quality grazing (4).
In some areas, breeding occurs only during a short period during the rains and most males only become territorial during this time. In other areas, breeding occurs throughout the year and males defend territories continuously (2). A single young is born after an eight month gestation period and remains hidden until it is strong enough to keep up with the herd (2) (4). Hartebeest reach sexual maturity between one and four years of age and live for up to 19 years (2).