Common Wildebeest


Scientific Name

Connochaetes taurinus

Species Survival Plan





Lion, wild dog, hyena, cheetah, crocodile and jackal



Originally Native To



48 inches at shoulders


430 lb.


Both sexes have sharp curved horns, beards, long manes and humped shoulders

Gestation Period

8 - 8.5 months

Birth Season

Mid-November to late December


1 calf


Wild ?
Captivity 20 years

Social Behavior

Herds of 16 to more than 100; extremely gregarious; territorial males, female herds and bachelor groups


ABOUT Common Wildebeest

Because these silvery gray antelopes with cow-like horns can sometimes, in the right light, look blue, they are referred to as the blue wildebeest.

Large herds of wildebeest migrate across the plains of Africa during the dry season seeking water, shade and grazing sites. During the rainy season, the herds head back to their home ranges again, making an annual trip of about 1,800 miles.

Ostriches, zebras and gazelles migrate with the wildebeest for varying distances to create an impressive scene. However, these herds are followed by many African predators including lions, wild dogs, hyenas and cheetah.

One of the techniques used by the vulnerable wildebeest to survive as a species is to have all the calves born together within a three-week period. This takes place during the rainy season when the conditions are optimal.

One tan calf is born to each female and is almost immediately up and running with his mother. After giving birth, the female rejoins the calving herd with hundreds of other females and calves.

Although females will only nurse their own calf, the sheer numbers of calves and females help the survivability of the young. However, predators still take large numbers of young wildebeest each year. Male calves are expelled from the herds at about two years of age, joining bachelor herds which tend to live on the periphery of the breeding area.


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As a private nonprofit corporation, Fossil Rim does not receive national or state government support. Every cent spent or donated here goes in some way, directly or indirectly, toward the care of our animals.