Common Eland live on the open plains of southern Africa and along the foothills of the great South African plateau. They eat grass, branches and leaves and are diurnal but tend to be inactive during the heat of day. Herds usually have 30 to 80 individuals, but are known to exceed 400. The Common Eland has an unusual social life, leaving or joining herds as necessary without forming close ties.

The size and power of the bull Eland generally (but not always) discourages predators, but females are thought to be more vulnerable to attack.[5] Known Eland predators include lions, Spotted Hyenas, African Wild Dogs and, rarely, leopards.

The name "Eland" is derived from the Dutch word for moose. When Dutch settlers came to the Cape Province they named the largest wild ruminant herbivore they met with the name of the huge northern herbivore.

In Dutch the animal is called "Eland antelope" to distinguish it from the Moose, which is found in the northern boreal forests.

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