Scientific Name: Connochaetes gnu
Common Name: Black Wildebeest, White-Tailed Gnu
Distribution: Highveld, South Africa
Description: The black wildebeest is dark brown to black in colour.
Both sexes become lighter in coat colour in the summer, and develop shaggier
coats in the winter. Possesses a bushy beard and mane. It also has a mane that
stands up from its neck, rather than draping across the neck, like that of
Connochaetes taurinus. This bristly mane is cream to white in colour and black at
the tips, the beard is black in colour and stretches only along the lower jaw,
not the length of the neck, as in Connochaetes taurinus. Paired horns curve
down, forward and then up, like hooks, and are up to 78 cm in length (slightly
thinner and shorter in females). The tail is long and white.
Difference in Sex: males being darker in colour than females.
Average Weight: 110 to 157 kg
Habitat: Open grassland and bushveld.
Habits: When alarmed, the animal swishes its long tail back and forth
so vigorously that the loud whistling or hissing sound it creates can be heard
for almost a kilometre. This is part of a ritual that may include loud snorting,
high kicking with the back legs, and eventually a comical flight in which the
herd will gallop off, wheel around, retrace its steps and halt, facing the real
or imagined enemy.
Main feeding time: Day
Size: Shoulder height (m) 1,2 m; (f) 1 m, mass (m) 180 kg, (f) 160
kg. Both sexes have horns.
Gestation: 8 - 8.5 months
Number of young at birth: single calf
Age: 20 years
Diet: bushes and shrubs