black mongoose

Hi all

Does any one have any thoughts, or any up to date info, on the specific status of black mongoose Galerella nigrata?

HMW seems to treat it as a morph of common slender mongoose. Whereas others treat it as a full species:…0UQ%202007.pdf

I took the attached picture at Waterberg, Namibia, presuming it to be this ‘species’. It does, however, look rather similar to some photos I’ve seen labelled dwarf mongooose; I know some populations of this species get very dark. So any thoughts on the photo would also be appreciated.





  • Vladimir Dinets

    Dwarf, slender and marsh mongooses all have black morphs. There are photos of black dwarfies from Waterberg in HMW, by the way 🙂 I’ve seen a black slender mongoose in Harenna Forest in Ethiopia. Apparently black phases are more common in forested highlands, just as in servals.

    That said, slender mongooses tend to have lighter-colored eyes than dwarf mongooses. I am not sure where the guy on the photo falls. If you saw the individual on the photo, it should’ve been pretty obvious: slenders look and move like large stoats, while dwarfies are much more stocky and look like typical mongooses, just tiny.

  • Jon Hall

    Hi Steve, it sort of looks like a Dwarf to me though its hard to tell from this picture and I am far from certain. I think Black Mongooses are a good species – and IUCN suggests there might even be two flavours (Herpestes flavescens, the Kakoveld Slender Mongoose, and another called Myonax nigratus). I looked for them around Etosha and bumped into an Australian doing her phd on them. I couldn’t find one but they are not uncommon. I understand that they like very rocky habitats – what is Waterberg habitat like?

  • Steve Babbs

    Thanks for your comments. Waterberg is rocky. Unfortunately I was guilty of both rushing to conclusions with the id and of taking very poor photos. I would post another picture, but I’m not quite sure how to.

  • Steve Babbs

    I’ve worked it out now!

  • Vladimir Dinets

    Yeah, looks more like a dwarfie, sorry…

  • hardakerwildlife

    The dark morphs of Dwarf Mongoose are well known from that particular area and they probably occur in their highest densities there out of any other place in the entire Southern African subregion. Apart from the size, facial structure is also of use here (Slenders have a “longer” and less angled face if that makes any sense?) – to my mind, your animals are definitely Dwarf Mongoose. Strangely enough, even although people always seems to see these dark morphs there and tell me how regular they are, I have never personally been lucky enough to see one there myself, despite a number of visits to the area!

  • maurice tijm

    I always thougth that Waterberg is outside the Kakaoveld Slender Mongoose his range, but looking at the IUCN red list information the park is within the animals distribution (looks like a publication by ‘Taylor’ is in press). You must have thought about this but: was the animal alone or in a small party? Kakaoveld Slender Mongooses are usually solitary, Dwarf’s usually not.

    Anyway, looks like you have sorted it out already. I have spent 1 night at Waterberg in 2007 arriving to late and leaving to early to see any Dwarf Mongoose there..

    Thanks for sharing,

  • Steve Babbs

    Thanks for you comments guys, they’re much appreciated. They were in a group. It would seem I’m guilty of rushing to conclusions: I saw some black mongooses in, what I thought was the right range, and didn’t think about the possibility of them being a black morph of another species. I’m now happy that they were dwarf, they certainly look like the picture in HBW. So I feel a bit daft, but I’m glad to have got it sorted out.

    • Maurice Tijm

      Personally, I like it a lot when people share their thougths on an ID. Its fun and of help to everyone and it is much better than reading unlikely sightings in a trip report lacking any comment on the sighting. Thanks for sharing, Mongooses are nice group of small carnivores for the mammalwatcher IMO, often diurnal in habit, attractive, not too shy, not too rare.. (With some exceptions of course, Jackson’s Mongoose etc.)

  • mike

    My understanding is that the black mongoose species is nearly isolated to Erongo.

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