Black lechwe are found in large, loose herds in which no strict social system exists (2). Males tend to congregate on drier land than the females (2). Lechwe are at ease in water and may often be seen wading shoulder high in order to graze on the most nutritious plants (2). Mating occurs in the rainy season between November and February and males compete for access to females by forming what is known as a 'lekking system' (5). Males hold small areas (known as 'leks') within a common arena, and fight to hold prime locations in the centre of the group where there is greater access to females (2). A single young is born after a seven or eight month gestation period and is initially left in concealed areas on dry land while their mother feeds; she returns periodically to suckle her young (6).
The floodplain soil is highly fertile and nutritious grasses make up the majority of the lechwe diet. Herds will follow the seasonal floods, taking refuge in wooded areas if flooding is extreme (6). On land, these antelope appear slow and clumsy but they are able to out-run predators in the water thanks to their large, powerful hind legs which propel them in long leaps (5).