Black Wildebeest - Connochaetes gnu

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Afrikaans Swartwildebees
R.W. Min 22⅞" Max 29"
S.C.I Min 50" Max 95½" Measurement Method 11

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Tracks
F 7cm
H 6cm

Distribution Dung
1.5 cm
Sometimes clustered
Deposited in middens
Visible Male/Female Differences

All the tufts, fringes and manes are better developed in mature bulls. Males have longer, thicker horns than females.

Habitat and Distribution

Open grassland where water is available. Areas of short grass feeding and good visibility are preferred.

Diet

An unselective grazer. Preference for short grass.

Reproduction

Single calves weighing 14 kg are born after a gestation of 253 days. Calves can follow their mothers soon after birth and begin grazing before a month old. Weaned at about six months. Females first mate at 16 months and have their first calf at 2 years. Males are sexually mature at 16 months and first mate at 3 years.

Behavior and Habits

Active in the day, especially early morning and late afternoon,They rests in the middle of the day in open areas. Males spend longer feeding than females and bachelor herds occupy the poor grazing areas. Three distinct types of social units exist:

  • 1) female herds with calves
  • 2) bachelor herds
  • 3) territorial adult bulls

Bachelor herds move a lot but female herds remain in their home ranges.

Calves 2-3 months old group together in crèches within the herds. Dominant bulls hold their territories throughout the year and mark their areas with scent from glands in front of the eyes and between the hooves well as with middens, usually pawing the ground before defecating. Status is displayed with a stiff-legged trot. When disturbed the herd snorts, kick their hind legs and toss their heads in indignant display, resulting in the Black wildebeest being called the clown of the savannah.

Sounds

A loud, high-pitched "ge-nu" from which the species name is derived, also a sharp 'hic' accompanied by an upward jerk of the chin which gives the impression of constant hiccups.

Dung and Field sign

Droppings are dark pellets. sometimes in clusters. Middens and bare, trampled patches on territories.

 



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