The Black rhino is a browser, its main foods being the thin regenerating twigs of woody growth and legumes.
A great variety of plant species are utilised, although acacia seems to be a favourite (Nowak, 1999). The natural diet of the Black rhinoceros is characterised by a high fibre and moderate to high protein content (Claus and Hatt, 2006). They eat a wide range of browse species in any given habitat, but while over 100 species may be ingested during a year’s foraging, 90% of the diet is commonly made up from fewer than 20 species. Grass is generally only eaten incidentally while foraging for low-growing herbs, but new soft grass leaf growth is voluntarily taken (Adcock and Amin, 2006).
Twigs are gathered with the prehensile upper lip, drawn into the mouth, and snapped off with the premolars.
Drinking occurs every day if water can be reached and mineral licks are visited regularly (Nowak, 1999). Black rhinos are most active during the night-time when most of their foraging and drinking is done. Foraging also occurs in the cooler hours of the morning and afternoon, but wallowing and / or sleeping in a cool, breezy or shady spot is the main activity during the heat of the day (Adcock and Amin, 2006).