BLUE WILDEBEEST / BRINDLED GNU FACT FILE

by Wildlife South Africa


BLUE WILDEBEEST / BRINDLED GNU FACT FILE
Latin Name: Connochaetes taurinus
Afrikaans: Blou Wildebees
 
Distribution in South Africa
 
Blue Wildebeest are found more often in the northwestern, north eastern, eastern and northern parts of South Africa and in large numbers in the Kruger National Park.
 
Difference between Black and Blue Wildebeest
 
Blue Wildebeest are much larger and heavier than the Black Wildebeest and their horns curve to the side outwards and then up, unlike the horns of Black Wildebeest that curve downward, forward and then upwards from the front. Blue Wildebeest have a black mane and tail (Black Wildebeest have whitish tails and manes). Black Wildebeest are not found in the Kruger National Park and occurs more towards the south of South Africa and in the highveld.
 
Habitat
 
Open bushveld, or savanna grassland and savanna woodland near accessible water, however they are able to adapt very well, as can be seen of the Blue Wildebeest that are found in the dry Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
 
 
Behaviour / Habits
 
Highly gregarious, usually found in herds of about 20 to thirty mainly females and young with a bull as leader. They can number from a few individuals up to hundreds and even thousands, in some areas, during migrations and in breeding season. Territorial bulls defend the cows around their territory; however cows tend to move through various territories. Bachelor herds are usually found around edges of larger breeding herds. Blue Wildebeest tend to move seasonally after grazing and water.
 
Day or night
 
Blue Wildebeest are diurnal and are most active during the cooler parts of the day, seeking shade in the heat of day.
 
Difference between Male and female
 
Bulls are slightly higher at the shoulder and heavier than the cows. The horns of the bulls are on average larger, heavier and more robust than the horns of the female.
 
Mass & Shoulder height
 
Male: 230 to 270 Kilograms. Shoulder height 1.5 meters
 
Female: 160 to 200 kilograms. Shoulder height 1.3 meters. 
 
The heaviest Blue Wildebeest weighed, was a bull found in the Kruger National Park with a mass of 307.5 kilograms.
 
Lifespan
 
About 17 to 20 years
 
Reproduction / Breeding
 
Mating season – March to June. Calves are born during mid- November to December, although it varies from area to area.
 

 
Gestation period
 
250 days (about 8 and a half months). Usually a single calf is born.
 
Diet / Food and water
 
Blue Wildebeest are primarily grazers, showing a preference for short green grass.
 
Enemies
 
Lion, Leopard, Spotted Hyena, Wild dog (Cape Hunting Dog), Cheetah, Crocodiles and humans.
 
Interesting facts
 
Blue Wildebeest often mingle with especially zebras, but also with giraffe and impala as well.