The differences between the black and white rhino species.

White rhino family herd

White Rhino

Black rhino bull

Black Rhino

Telling the difference between the two African rhino species can be tricky, however when you know what to look for it is very easy.


In general the rhino species are very different. Their size, behavior, social structure, diet and breeding all differ between the two species.


White rhinos are the larger of the two species weighing up to 2000kg's and measuring 1,8m tall. The black rhino being smaller, can weigh up to 1000kg's and stands 1,6m tall.

Although both rhinos have two horns on their face, the white rhinos horns usually appear longer and thicker.


The males of both rhino species can be territorial, although the black rhino is less territorial.

Black rhinos are the more shy of the two, and favoring thickets and dense bush, this makes them fairly had to find. White rhinos prefer open savannah biomes, and quite often you will be able to spot them from a fair distance away.

Black rhinos are also the more aggressive between the two.

Social Structure

Black rhinos are usually solitary animals, however sometimes they can be found in small groups, 2-4 animals. White rhino bulls can be found solitary, where as the cows(females) are usually found in small herds consisting of other females and their young, sometimes a bull can be found within this herd.


Black rhinos are browsers(eat leaves), and because of this they live in areas where their food is readily available(thickets).

White rhinos are grazers(eat grass), and therefore they also live in areas with lots of grass(savannah).

Due to their dietary requirements both rhino species have evolved different facial features.

Facial Features

The white rhino has a square shaped face which usually points towards the ground, this is so that the rhino is able to eat grass that is low to the ground.

Black rhinos have a triangular shaped face. The upper lip is prehensile and is able to hold and pull leaves, as well as  branches to be bittern off and eaten.


Black rhinos give birth to a single calf, the gestation lasts for 15 months.

White rhinos also give birth to one calf, however the gestation lasts for 18 months. 

Something very interesting about the rhinos is how they flee from danger. The white rhino calf runs in front of the mother, this is so the mother is able to protect the calf from a predator, or draw attention away from the calf.

With black rhinos, the calf will run behind the mother. Black rhinos live in very bushy vegetation, therefore the mother runs ahead of the calf to break through the bushes and trees so they can make a speedy getaway.

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