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Blue Wildebeest / Brindled Gnu (Connochaetes taurinus)



Blue Wildebeest / Brindled Gnu (Connochaetes taurinus)
Adult blue wildebeest vary in color, from deep slate or bluish gray, through light gray to brown-gray. The main coat is slightly lighter in color than the underparts. Dark brown vertical bands mark the neck and forequarters, and from a distance may seem to be wrinkles in the skin. Young are born tawny brown, and begin to take on their adult coloration at 2 months of age. Both sexes possess horns. Extending outward to the side and then curving up and slightly inward, the horns may grow 1 to 1.3 feet (30 to 40 cm) in females and 2.7 feet (83 cm) in males. They are slightly broadened at the base and have no ridges.



I. DESCRIPTION:

  • Adult blue wildebeest vary in color, from deep slate or bluish gray, through light gray to brown-gray.
  • The main coat is slightly lighter in color than the underparts. Dark brown vertical bands mark the neck and forequarters, and from a distance may seem to be wrinkles in the skin.
  • Young are born tawny brown, and begin to take on their adult coloration at 2 months of age.
  • Both sexes possess horns. Extending outward to the side and then curving up and slightly inward, the horns may grow 1 to 1.3 feet (30 to 40 cm) in females and 2.7 feet (83 cm) in males. They are slightly broadened at the base and have no ridges.
II. GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
  • Wildebeest inhabit open and brush-covered savanna in south and east Africa.
  • Extremely territorial, adult males may occupy their territories for a few weeks or for the entire year.
  • Territories vary in size from 2.5 to 4 acres; males mark the boundaries with dung heaps, preorbital gland secretions and pawing of the earth.
  • When competing over territory, males grunt loudly, shove their horns and make other displays of aggression, although these behaviors rarely signal serious fights.
III. DIET:
  • Grasses
IV. LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
  • Only males with a territory may mate.
  • Families are formed by females and young in groups of 10 to 1,000 animals. Young males (under 3 years of age) form small bachelor groups, while mature males are generally solitary.
V. SPECIAL NOTES/ADAPTATIONS:
  • Births are seasonal, occurring two to three weeks before the summer rains. This flood of youngsters prevents predators from decimating the new population, as they might if births were spread out over a longer period of time.
  • A young wildebeest can stand just 15 minutes after birth, and can follow its mother shortly thereafter.



Rate:  (2.2)

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