Black rhinos are solitary animals and seldom seen in our game parks, not to mention mating! Roger and Pat de la Harpe managed to snap some photos of black rhino mating and get a video clip while they were at it.

While working on our new book on lions  we visited Phinda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal to photograph the release of two male lions into the reserve to augment the gene pool. While searching for the lions we came across these black rhinos mating. What a sighting it was: black rhino are not easily seen at the best of times but to see them in open country like this was amazing and then mating as well!

Adult black rhino are solitary animals, usually only coming together for mating. This is not a seasonal occurrence though births tend to be towards the end of the rainy season. Courtship behaviour includes snorting and sparring with the horns among males and snorting and swinging the head from side to side aggressively before running away repeatedly from the female. Breeding animals stay together for two to three days, sometimes even weeks. They mate several times a day and copulation usually lasts for about half an hour. Gestation is 15 to 16 months.

Black Rhinoceros or Hook-lipped Rhino (Diceros bicornis) mating. Phinda / Munyawana / Zuka Game Reserves. KwaZulu Natal. South Africa. Adults are solitary in nature, coming together only for mating. Mating does not have a seasonal pattern but births tend to be towards the end of the rainy season in more arid environments. Males following females that are in season will follow her; when she defecates he will scrape and spread the dung, making it more difficult for any other adult males to pick up her scent trail. Courtship behaviors before mating include snorting and sparring with the horns among males. Another courtship behavior is called bluff and bluster, where the rhino will snort and swing its head from side to side aggressively before running away repeatedly. Breeding pairs stay together for 2–3 days and sometimes even weeks. They mate several times a day over this time and copulation lasts for a half an hour. The gestation period is 15 to 16 months. The single calf weighs about 35–50 kg at birth, and can follow its mother around after just three days. Weaning occurs at around 2 years of age for the offspring. The mother and calf stay together for 2–3 years until the next calf is born; female calves may stay longer, forming small groups. Sexual maturity is reached from 5–7 years old for females, and 7–8 years for males

Black Rhinoceros or Hook-lipped Rhino (Diceros bicornis) mating. Phinda / Munyawana / Zuka Game Reserves. KwaZulu Natal. South Africa. Adults are solitary in nature, coming together only for mating. Mating does not have a seasonal pattern but births tend to be towards the end of the rainy season in more arid environments. Males following females that are in season will follow her; when she defecates he will scrape and spread the dung, making it more difficult for any other adult males to pick up her scent trail. Courtship behaviors before mating include snorting and sparring with the horns among males. Another courtship behavior is called bluff and bluster, where the rhino will snort and swing its head from side to side aggressively before running away repeatedly. Breeding pairs stay together for 2–3 days and sometimes even weeks. They mate several times a day over this time and copulation lasts for a half an hour. The gestation period is 15 to 16 months. The single calf weighs about 35–50 kg at birth, and can follow its mother around after just three days. Weaning occurs at around 2 years of age for the offspring. The mother and calf stay together for 2–3 years until the next calf is born; female calves may stay longer, forming small groups. Sexual maturity is reached from 5–7 years old for females, and 7–8 years for males

Black Rhinoceros or Hook-lipped Rhino (Diceros bicornis) mating. Phinda / Munyawana / Zuka Game Reserves. KwaZulu Natal. South Africa. Adults are solitary in nature, coming together only for mating. Mating does not have a seasonal pattern but births tend to be towards the end of the rainy season in more arid environments. Males following females that are in season will follow her; when she defecates he will scrape and spread the dung, making it more difficult for any other adult males to pick up her scent trail. Courtship behaviors before mating include snorting and sparring with the horns among males. Another courtship behavior is called bluff and bluster, where the rhino will snort and swing its head from side to side aggressively before running away repeatedly. Breeding pairs stay together for 2–3 days and sometimes even weeks. They mate several times a day over this time and copulation lasts for a half an hour. The gestation period is 15 to 16 months. The single calf weighs about 35–50 kg at birth, and can follow its mother around after just three days. Weaning occurs at around 2 years of age for the offspring. The mother and calf stay together for 2–3 years until the next calf is born; female calves may stay longer, forming small groups. Sexual maturity is reached from 5–7 years old for females, and 7–8 years for males

Black Rhinoceros or Hook-lipped Rhino (Diceros bicornis) mating. Phinda / Munyawana / Zuka Game Reserves. KwaZulu Natal. South Africa. Adults are solitary in nature, coming together only for mating. Mating does not have a seasonal pattern but births tend to be towards the end of the rainy season in more arid environments. Males following females that are in season will follow her; when she defecates he will scrape and spread the dung, making it more difficult for any other adult males to pick up her scent trail. Courtship behaviors before mating include snorting and sparring with the horns among males. Another courtship behavior is called bluff and bluster, where the rhino will snort and swing its head from side to side aggressively before running away repeatedly. Breeding pairs stay together for 2–3 days and sometimes even weeks. They mate several times a day over this time and copulation lasts for a half an hour. The gestation period is 15 to 16 months. The single calf weighs about 35–50 kg at birth, and can follow its mother around after just three days. Weaning occurs at around 2 years of age for the offspring. The mother and calf stay together for 2–3 years until the next calf is born; female calves may stay longer, forming small groups. Sexual maturity is reached from 5–7 years old for females, and 7–8 years for males