The Hottentot (Khoi) name, Gnu, is derived from the word referring to the sound this animal makes – a metallic, ringing, snort. The black wildebeest maintains territories and, during the rut, will endeavour to herd as many cows into their area as possible. The bachelor groups consist of bulls of various ages. Cows and calves wander over territories freely. Both sexes have horns. Stocky, swift cantering, with the head held erect, is characteristic. Distribution in former times extended into the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg and Cape, but today it is confined mainly to the Free State.
They have a smaller spoor than that of the blue wildebeest, it is 9 cm long