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Giraffe photographed on an Aves North West Birding Tour/Safari/Adventure

Giraffe photographed on an Aves North West Birding Tour/Safari/Adventure at Nylsvley Nature Reserve, Limpopo Province, South Africa on May 6th 2012.


The Giraffe - Giraffa camelopardalis - is the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminant. There are nine subspecies, which are distinguished by their coat patterns. They have a scattered range in sub-Saharan Africa and inhabit Savannas, Grasslands and open Woodlands.


The South African Giraffe - Giraffa camelopardalisgiraffa - is found in South Africa, southern Botswana, southern Zimbabwe and south-western Mozambique. It is estimated that no more than 12,000 remain in the wild. They have large brown spots on a yellowish background and the pattern of each giraffe is unique. The face is long and narrow, about 2 feet, with 2 horn-like ossicones on the head. Giraffes have a short dense mane of brown hair, and their long tails end with a tuft of long, dark hair. The giraffe is noted for its extremely long neck and legs, as well as its horn-like ossicones. These long legs allow giraffes to run as fast as 35 miles (56 kilometers) an hour over short distances and cruise comfortably at 10 miles (16 kilometers) an hour over longer distances.


Giraffe’s communicate using various sounds. During courtship, males emit loud coughs. Females call their young by bellowing. Calves will emit snorts, bleats, mooing and mewing sounds. Giraffes also snore, hiss, moan and make flute-like sounds and they communicate over long distances using infrasound.


Their primary food source is acacia leaves but they also browse other trees and shrubs. They will also feed on grass, fruit and bark.


The giraffe gestation lasts 400 to 460 days, after which a single calf is born. A newborn giraffe is about 1.8 m (6 ft) tall. Within a few hours of birth, the calf can run around and is almost indistinguishable from a one-week-old. However, for the first 1–3 weeks, it spends most of its time hiding.

Conservation Status – Least Concern

The giraffe species as a whole is assessed as Least Concern. However, giraffes have disappeared from Angola, Mali and Nigeria. The giraffe is a protected species in most of its range. In 1999, it was estimated that over 140,000 giraffes existed in the wild, but estimates in 2010 indicate that fewer than 80,000 remain.

Game viewing

Ask Aves Birding Tours/Safaris/Adventures to create a tour for you or book on one of the following Aves Birding Tour/Safaris/Adventures see these magnificent animals: -

Aves Arid Birding Tour/Safari/Adventure

Aves Eastern Cape Birding Tour / Safari /Adventure.

Aves Highlands / Tembe Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves KZN Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves North East Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves North West Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves Western Cape Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves West Coast Birding Tour / Safari /Adventure.


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