An Austrian man has won a court case allowing him to change his family's name back to "Zebra".

The man appealed to the Austrian constitutional court when a lower court rejected his request to change his name.

In the earlier ruling, a judge had said that under Austrian law name changes are only permissible if the name is Austrian and not "ridiculous" or "offensive".

The judge ruled that the name Zebra could only refer to a "type of horse living in the African savannah".

However the constitutional court found that because the family had been named Zebra before changing it in the 1950s, reverting to the older name was perfectly legitimate.

The plaintiff had argued that several common Austrian family names were also the names of animals, including Fuchs (fox), or Biber (beaver).

The last name of the plaintiff's family to keep the Zebra surname died in 1991. The plaintiff's current name was not disclosed in court documents.

The constitutional court judgment said the Zebra case was considered by 12 court lawyers and vice-president Brigitte Bierlein.