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Giraffe subspecies ID Pics. What are the visual differences?

Game Warden

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Game Warden

There are ten subspecies of Giraffe:


Angolensis - Angolan giraffe, Smokey giraffe.


Antiquorum - Kordofan giraffe.


Camelopardalis - Nubian giraffe.


Congoensis or Ladoensis - Congo giraffe.


Giraffa - South African giraffe, Cape giraffe.


Peralta - West African, Nigerian giraffe.


Reticulata - Reticulated giraffe.


Rothschildi - Rothschild’s giraffe.


Thornicrofti -Thornicroft’s giraffe.


Tippelskirchi - Masai giraffe, Kilimanjaro giraffe.


With your photos, please include the subspecies and when and where taken.

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Maasai Giraffe (Serengeti, Tanzania) - the patterns are "blotchy", though as you can see from the male on the right, the patterns vary.



Reticulated Giraffe (Meru, Kenya) - crisp, polygonal patterns extending all the way down the legs.



Rothschild's Giraffe (Murchison Falls, Uganda) - polygonal patterns not as crisp as in the reticulated. Lines separating the patterns are thicker. The patterns fade out in the legs.



An intermediate form? (Sosian Ranch, Kenya) - interestingly, giraffes in western Laikipia appear to have both reticulated and Rothschild's traits.



Southern Giraffe (Nylsvley, South Africa) - patterns duller and not as "blotchy" as those of the Maasai giraffe. The dead giveaway is that they don't occur in East Africa!



Thornicroft's Giraffe (S. Luangwa, Zambia) - very similar to the southern giraffe but smaller.


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Thornicroft's is indeed smaller than Southern, but also (generally) a lighter head, and no spots low on the legs.

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  • 9 months later...

Who can update this topic with more id pics?



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So, are there 9 or 10 subspecies?

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(Referring to deleted content):


Apparently Kingdon does it the other way ´round - his field guide (1997) says there are 8 subspecies, including congoensis but not antiquorum. He describes Rothschild´s as hybrids only.


This side lists 9, omitting congoensis, just like your FB link:




See also here, 9 (sub)species or only even 6 according to this:




9 (Sub)species listed also here (with good comparison pics):



Edited by michael-ibk
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