Asian Nigali

The Asian Nigali, sometimes called nilgau, is the largest Asian antelope. The Asian Nigali is one of the most commonly seen wild animals of central and northern India, often seen in farmland or scrub forest.

The mature Asian Nigali male appears ox-like and is also known as the blue bull. A blue bull is called a nil gai or nilgai in India, from nil meaning blue and gai meaning a bovine animal (literally ‘cow’). It is also present in parts of southern Nepal and eastern Pakistan. The species has become extinct in Bangladesh. It was known as the nilghor (nil = blue, ghor = horse) during the rule ofAurangzeb in the Mughal era.

The Asian Nigali has thin legs and a robust body that slopes down from the shoulder. Asian Nigali show marked sexual dimorphism, with only the males having horns. Adult males have a grey to bluish-grey coat, with white spots on the cheeks and white colouring on the edges of the lips. Asian Nigali also have a white throat bib and a narrow white stripe along the underside of the body that widens at the rear.

The tips of the long, tufted tail and of the ears are black. Asian Nigali also possess a tubular-shaped “pennant” of long, coarse hair on the midsection of the throat. The Asian Nigali males have two black, conical horns, arising close together just behind the eyes. The Asian Nigali horns project upwards, but are slightly curved forward; they measure between 15 and 24 centimetres (5.9 and 9.4 in) in a fully grown adult.