Species profile

Name: the wildebeest is a type of antelope native to Africa. There are two species: the black wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou), and the blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus).

Appearance: both species of wildebeest are greyish-brown animals with shaggy manes that resemble cattle. You can tell them apart by the colour of their coats and the shape of their horns. Blue wildebeest tend to be a dark grey almost bluish colour, while black wildebeest are browner with cream coloured tails. The horns of the blue wildebeest protrude outwards then curve down, while the black’s curve down then up at the tips.

Size: the blue is the bigger of the two species standing 150 cm tall and weighing 250 kg, compared to 120 cm and 180 kg for the black wildebeest.

Diet: wildebeest are herbivores, grazing on the short grasses found on the open savannah grasslands and plains.

Did you know: blue wildebeest are known for their incredible migrations. They start to move at the end of the wet season when drinking water starts to dry up and the grass dies out. The annual wildebeest migration is one of the seven natural wonders of Africa and one of the most spectacular wildlife shows on the planet! The ‘Great Migration’ occurs between July and October when the Maasai Mara becomes host to over one million wildebeest that travel from the Serengeti in Tanzania in search of food. While having the appearance of a frenzy, recent research has shown that herds of wildebeest possess ‘swarm intelligence’, allowing them to systematically explore and overcome obstacles such as crocodile-infested rivers as one unit. Massive megafauna migrations were once common all over the world, but today the Mara-Serengeti migrations are among the last of their kind, representing a unique and irreplaceable African heritage.

Location: wildebeest inhabit the plains and open woodlands of much of Africa south of the Sahara. The black wildebeest is native to the southernmost parts of the continent, while the blue is native to eastern and southern Africa.

Where to see wildebeest

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see wildebeest in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
very good

Photo credit: herbert 2512 under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay

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