AFRICAN LION CHARACTERISTICS The African Lion has a light tawny coat with white on the abdomen and inside of their legs. The backs of an African lions ears are black in colour. The male lions mane ranges in colour from tawny to reddish brown to black. The mane gets darker as the male lion ages. The mane provides protection from an opponents teeth and claws during conflict. The coat of an infant lion has rosette patterns. The rosette patterns may remain on the abdomens and legs of some adult lions.