Common elands are spiral-horned antelopes. The coat differs geographically with elands in north Africa having distinctive markings (torso stripes, markings on legs, dark garters and a spinal crest) that are absent in the south. The coat is smooth except for a rough mane.
The common eland is the slowest antelope, with a peak speed of 40 kilometres per hour that tires them quickly. However, they can maintain a 22 kilometres per hour trot indefinitely. Elands are capable of jumping up to 2.5 metres from a standing start when startled.
Common elands are nomadic. They eat in the morning and evening, rest in shade when hot and remain in sunlight when cold. They are commonly found in herds of up to 500, with individual members remaining in the herd anywhere from several hours to several months.