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Plains Zebra (Equus quagga) Fact Sheet: Distribution & Habitat


Most widespread distribution of all wild equids (Hack et al. 2002)

Eastern and Southern Africa (from Klingel 2013 unless otherwise noted)

  • Regions east of the Nile River
    • South from southern (S) Sudan and S Ethiopia to northern (N) Namibia and N South Africa
    • Most live in Kenya and Tanzania
      • Countries are home to c. 75% of all wild individuals (Hack et al. 2002)
  • Subspecific distribution
    • E. q. borensis - portions of Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya
    • E. q. boehmi - portions of Ethiopia, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia
    • E. q. crawshayi - portions of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique
    • E. q. chapmani - portions of Angola, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa
    • E. q. burchellii - portions of Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, and South Africa
    • Equus quagga quagga - extinct since c. 1883; formerly in Cape Province, South Africa
  • Locally extinct in Burundi and Lesotho (Hack and Lorenzen 2008)
    • Possibly extinct in Angola

Recent distribution (from Klingel 2013 unless otherwise noted)

  • Historical distribution much broader
    • Distribution within the past 100,000 years smaller than historical range
    • Previously present across the African continent
    • Fossil remains from North Africa (Churcher and Richardson 1978)


Habitat generalist (from Klingel 2013 unless otherwise noted)

  • Live in many habitat types
    • Grassland and grassland-bushland or grassland-woodland mosaics
    • Avoid rainforest, dune forests, deserts, and permanent wetlands (Hack and Lorenzen 2008; Hack et al. 2002)
  • Water essential
    • Rarely more than 12 km (7.5 mi) from a water source

Elevation range

  • 0-4,300 m (0-14,108 ft) (Hack and Lorenzen 2008)

Distribution Map

Plains Zebra distribution map

Plains zebra distribution.

Adapted from according to IUCN fact sheet. Click here for detailed distribution information (IUCN).

Page Citations

Churcher and Richardson (1978)
Hack and Lorenzen (2008)
Hack et al. (2002)
Klingel (2013)

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