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Wildebeest (Connochaetes Taurinus)

Description and Characteristics:

The wildebeest is also know as the gnu, it come under the antelope familyas a hooved mammal. They have an appearance of features much like a cross between a cow and a horse.

The Wildebeest is native to Africa and there are 2 species: the Black Wildebeest, or white-tailed gnu and the Blue Wildebeest, or brindled gnu. Gnus belong to the family Bovidae, which includes antelopes, cattle, goats, and other even-toed horned ungulates.

Female wildebeest (cows) are smaller than the male and have both have horns.

Feeding/drinking Habits:
The main food source of wildebeests is grasses. The seasonal nature of the African grasslands forces wildebeest to migrate. They like to drink daily when water is available, but can go for a few days without water.

Its habitat consists of grassy plains and open woodlands in southern, central, and eastern Africa. They are especially prolific in the Serengeti National Park.

Size & Lifespan
Wildebeest grow to 1.15–1.4 metres at the shoulder and weigh between 150–250 kilograms. Wildebeest can live more than 20 years.


The gestation period in a female is eight and a half months, producing one offspring. The calf is able to stand within minutes of the birth. In a few days it is able to keep up with the herd.

Predators and Threats:
The number of wildebeest has increased steadily over recent years but human habitation leads to less grasslands which threaten their long term numbers. The Wildebeests main predators lions and hyenas.

The Wildebeest Migration in Kenya and Tanzania:
The Wildebeest Migration in East Africa, also known as “The Great Migration” takes place between Tanzania's Serengeti National Park and Kenya's Masai Mara and is one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on the planet.

Thousands of wildebeest and zebra’s migrate between the Serengeti and the Masai Mara, constantly driven by their search for fresh grazing. The massive herds are closely followed by predators (lion, hyena and cheetah), making the most of every opportunity to catch their next meal.

The precise timing of the annual wildebeest migration depends on the rains. It is a very unpredictable and spontaneous natural event, with calving season taking place in the Serengeti between January and mid-March. The wildebeest migration starts to head towards the Western Serengeti in May or June. The best time to see the migration is generally between June and August when the wildebeest congregate and prepare to cross the famous Grumeti River.

If you are in the Masai Mara you can expect the wildebeest to make their arrival as early as July, but they generally arrive between August & September and remain in the Masai Mara between October & November. Between the end of November and January the wildebeest gradually begin their migration from the Masai Mara back towards the Serengeti.

Predators Annual Wildebeest Migration
Maasai Mara Lodge Safari
3 days private safari, which can be customised to any number of days. This short safari to Kenya's most popular wildlife sanctuary is a great itinerary all year round and is also perfect if you are travelling late August through to July to afford a good chance of viewing the migration herds

Annual Wildebeest Migration The Great Wildebeest Migration Lodge Safari
This 11 day itinerary provides you with plenty of time to really get a good chance of seeing and photographing the Annual Migration, if your timing is right. You will revel in all the wildlife viewing opportunities on the fabled plains of the Serengeti, around Lake Manyara, Tarangire & Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The Great Serengeti Migration Trail
10 days: Private Safari: Come and see the World's Greatest wildlife migration visiting Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Tarangire. The best time to visit is December to February and from May to July.

Photos of Wildebeest
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Books about Wildebeest

Wildebeest (Wild Africa) - by Melissa Cole, Tom Leeson (Illustrator), Pat Leeson (Illustrator)
Examines the life of the wildebeest, pointing out differences between the two species, their odd appearance and social nature, and the impact humans have had, and continue to have, on these African bovids.
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Posters/Prints of Wildebeest
A Group of Black Wildebeests Gather to Drink at a Water Hole Wildebeest, Connochaetes Taurinus, Tanzania Wildebeests Migrating, Tanzania A Blue Wildebeest in a Field at Sunrise (Connochaetes Taurinus)
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