Abstract and Summary
1. The social structure of Cape mountain zebras consists of breeding herds and bachelor groups. The breeding herds, which comprise 1 stallion, 1–5 mares and their offspring, remain stable over many years. When the stallion is displaced by another the mares usually remain together, although some herds split up. A dominance hierarchy exists, but leadership is not confined to the dominant member. Foals leave their maternal herds at a mean age of 21.9 months. The herd stallion tries to prevent foals from leaving the herd.
2. Bachelor groups are not as rigidly structured as breeding herds but core groups could be identified through a Principal Components Analysis. Family ties may be important in the establishment of core groups. Bachelors succeed in becoming herd stallions when ca. 5 years old.
3. The recipient of a threat moving away seems to be an adequate response. Submissive behaviour was only recorded in bachelors. Fighting is rare, with biting as an important element. Compared to plains zebras, sounds made in communication are limited. Social grooming mainly occurs between mare and foal. Grooming intention movements may be an appeasement gesture.
4. An oestrus mare assumes a characteristic posture. Flehmen occurs. Urine and faeces of oestrus mares are often marked by the stallion. This cannot be explained functionally and is not restricted to eliminations of oestrus mares. Penis erection and jerking by resting stallions could serve as a warning signal, but may be masturbatory.
5. The herd stallion actively herds members of his herd and reduces intraherd antagonism by means of threats. He usually leads when the herd goes to drink and brings up the rear when the herd moves away from danger.
6. Play was rarely recorded.
7. A challenge ritual is performed when herd stallions meet. When challenged by a herd stallion, a bachelor is submissive.
8. Foals initially remain close to their mothers and have to learn the correct orientation when suckling. A single adoption was recorded.
9. Individuals apparently recognise each other after long periods.
10. Cape mountain zebras react to alarm signals of antelopes.
11. The greater part of the day is devoted to grazing. A significantly greater percentage of the day is spent resting in winter than in summer. Cape mountain zebras mainly stand while resting, but resting in sternal or lateral recumbency also occurs. Defaecation and urination occurs throughout the day with no definite peaks.
12. Grooming consists of localized muscle contractions, shaking, striking one part of the body against another or against the ground, rubbing, dust-bathing, scratching and nibbling.
13. In cold weather, Cape mountain zebras seek shelter in wooded kloofs.