It isnative to eastern and central Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Angola. Although the rhinoceros is referred to as black, its colors vary from brown to gray.

The species overall is classified as critically endangered, and one subspecies, the western black rhinoceros, was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2011.

An adult black rhinoceros stands 132–180 cm (52–71 in) high at the shoulder and is 2.8–3.8 m (9.2–12.5 ft) in length, plus a tail of about 60 cm (24 in) in length.[19] An adult typically weighs from 800 to 1,400 kg (1,800 to 3,100 lb), however unusually large male specimens have been reported at up to 2,199–2,896 kg (4,848–6,385 lb).[3] The females are smaller than the males. Two horns on the skull are made of keratin with the larger front horn typically 50 cm (20 in) long, exceptionally up to 140 cm (55 in).

Today, there are various threats posed to the black rhinoceros today including habitat changes, illegal poaching, and competing species. Civil disturbances such as war have made mentionably negative effects on the black rhinoceros populations in since the 1960s in countries including, but not limited to, Chad, Cameroon, Rwanda, Mozambique, and Somalia. In the Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa, the African elephant Loxotonta africana is posing slight concern involving the black rhinoceroses who also inhabit the area. Both animals are browsers however the elephant's diet consists of a wider variety of foraging capacity while the rhinoceros primarily sticks to dwarf shrubs. The black rhinoceros has been found to eat grass as well, however the shortening of its range of available food could be potentially problematic.

Black rhinoceros face problems associated with the minerals they ingest. They have become adjusted to ingesting less iron in the wild due to their evolutionary progression, which poses a problem when placed in captivity. These rhinoceros can overload on iron, which leads to build up in the lungs, liver, spleen, and small intestine.Not only do these rhinoceros face threats being in the wild, but in captivity too. Black rhinoceros have become more susceptible to disease in captivity with high rates of mortality.