The Black rhino is one of the two rhino species found in Africa. In the same way that the White rhino is not white, the Black rhino is not actually black. Its skin is more of a grey colour. There are a number of theories as to why the Black rhino is called ‘black’ but two of the most common are that the upper lip has a type of beak formation and this has been translated to ‘black’ and perhaps the more common theory is that is that the English called it black as it was opposite to white!  The black rhino is also known as the hook lipped rhino.

The black rhino is a browser and is often found in thick bush. Far more shy, secretive and aggressive than the white rhino, the black rhino can be more difficult to track and spot.

Populations of black rhino have been decimated over recent years. It is thought that as recently as 1970 there were as many as 65,000 black rhinos in the wild. The estimated population today is less than 5,000.


General black rhino facts:

Scientific Name:

Diceros bicornis


Eastern black rhino:

Diceros bicornis michaeli

Southwestern black rhino:

Diceros bicornis bicornis

Southern central black rhino:

Diceros bicornis minor

Average Weight:

800kg to 1,350kg

Height at shoulder:

1.4 to 1.7 meters (4.5 to 5.5 ft)

Length (head & body):

3 to 3.8 meters (10 to 12.5 ft)

Front horn length:

54cm to 134cm

Rear horn length:

2.5cm to 56cm


Between 30 and 40 years


Up to 50km per hour (28mph)

Social Behaviour:


IUCN conservation status:

Critically Endangered




15 to 16 months

Birth intervals per calf:

2.5 to 4 years

Female sexual maturity:

4 to 7 years

Male sexual maturity:

7 to 10 years

Calves weaned:

1 year



Wild Population:

5,000 to 5,500


Namibia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe