Scientific Name: Damaliscus Dorcas Phillipsi
Bontesbok and blesbok share an adult color pattern where the relatively dark dorsal pelage contrasts sharply with high, white stockings and buttocks. Bontebok have a dark and glossy, purplish-brown dorsal pelage, while blesbok dorsal pelage is a dull, reddish-brown. Blesbok also have dark fur on their rumps, while bontebok have a white patch surrounding the tail. Calves are born with lighter brown pelage and dark faces and are identical to the young of topi (Damaliscus lunatus). Both sexes of both subspecies develop large and curving, gazelle-like horns Their short tail is tufted with black fur. A characteristic of the Blesbok is the prominent white blaze on the face and a horizontal brown strip which divides this blaze above the eyes. Body colour is brown with a lighter coloured saddle on the back, and the rump an even lighter shade. The legs are brown with a white patch behind the top part of the front legs. Lower legs whitish. Both sexes carry horns, ringed almost to the tip. Female horns are slightly more slender.
Bontebok and blesbok are found in South African grasslands. When first encountered by Europeans at the end of the 17th century all reports indicated that they were restricted to grasslands and were not seen until the karroid areas of the central parts of the Cape Province had been traversed. Their former distribution indicates that they were confined to the Highveld plateau grasslands where water was available.
Damaliscus pygargus occurs in southern Africa. There are two physically distinct and well-recognized subspecies: bontebok (D. p. pygargus) are found in the highveld and coastal plains of South Africa, blesbok (D. p. phillipsi) are found in eastern and central Free State
Head and body length ranges from 140 to 160 cm, tail length from 30 to 45 cm.
Males are typically larger than females, with female body mass ranging from 55 to 70 kg, and male body mass ranging from 65 to 80 kg. Bontebok average 8kg lighter than blesbok, which helps to distinguish the two.