Need ID for a jackal from Ethiopia

Dear Mammal Watcher,

Last November I probably saw a black-backed jackal Lupulella mesomelas in Awash NP in Ethiopia. I recently posted this observation on iNaturalist images and my observation has been confirmed. But there are also doubts and it could also be an African Golden Wolf Canis lupaster, which looks similar and occurs in the same habitat. I have no experience with African canids and would be happy if someone could check my determination.

Many thanks in advance

Michael Widmer


  • Erik Foekens

    Hello Michael,

    I would say African Golden Wolf.
    The “ black back” is rather large and more grey, not so obvious.
    Also the snouth is more Coyote-like, Black-back Jackals have a more slender and shorter snout.

    Erik Foekens

  • Charles Foley

    I agree with Eric. I think it’s an African Golden Wolf with a black saddle. These individuals tend to have more diffuse colour separation between the back and the flanks than the Black-backed. They also have a broader face than the Black-backed, which you can see in the photo where it’s lying down looking at the camera.

  • Pictus Safaris

    Golden wolf – it’s true there is a lot of variety in coat colour throughout the range, so the best way to tell is often the structure of the head and the size of the ears which give them that more lupine appearance.

  • Manuel Ruedi

    What about an hybrid between Simian wolf and saddle back jackal? These camis hybridize quite easily

  • Jose R. Castello

    Yes, African Golden Wolf.
    Black-backed jackals cannot hybridize successfully with the rest of the genus Canis (that is one of the reasons to assign them to the Lupulella genus), so a hybrid is very unlikely.


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