Kobus ellipsiprymnus

The Waterbuck is the largest member of the family Reduncinae, which also includes the Southern Reedbuck, Mountain Reedbuck, Grey Rhebok and several other species occurring elsewhere in Africa.

The race occurring in South Africa, the Common Waterbuck (K.e.ellipsiprymnus) is characterised by a white circle around their tails, distinguishing them from the Defassa Waterbuck (K.e.defassa) which has a solid white patch on their posteriors. These shaggy antelope weigh up to 270kg and adult bulls are up to 1.7m high at the shoulder. The gracefully curved horns of the bulls can reach a meter in length.

As their name suggests, the waterbuck is seldom found far from a permanent water source, requiring to drink around 9 liters of water daily. Waterbuck inhabit open savannah, grasslands, floodplains, marshes and reedbeds, where they feed predominantly on long grass. They occur in mixed herds with up to sixty members, though normally much smaller. Most calves are born in the rainy season, and remain hidden for up to four weeks before joining their maternal herds. When pursued by predators, waterbuck will often take refuge in deep water, being good swimmers. They’re a favourite prey of lions, though calves fall victim to all of Africa’s large predators, and have a life expectancy up to 18 years.

The waterbuck is one of South Africa’s most common and well-known antelope, occurring naturally in most of the Northern and Eastern provinces and introduced widely outside its natural range on private land. The biggest population occurs in the Kruger National Park, with sizeable herds also at Ithala Game ReservePilanesberg National Park and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, among the many private and public protected areas in which they can be found. It is also widespread in the rest of Africa, with the IUCN estimating a total population of around 200,000 for the continent.

Waterbuck (14)



39 thoughts on “Waterbuck

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  11. Tina Schell

    Lovely shots, and I agree the first one, the portrait, is majestic. We were fortunate to see many of these in our safari experience and I swear the back end looked to me just like a target !

    Liked by 1 person

  12. scrapydo2

    Die eerste foto is so n sterk vol gesig. Baie mooi geneem. Die laaste een wys hul die wêreld wat hul van die wêreld dink! (Interessant die “Kobus” by die naam!) Dis lekker om vroeg op te staan is dit nie! Ek doen dit nog steeds al hoef ek nie.


    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Baie dankie vir die gawe kommentaar op die foto’s, Ineke!

      Ek stem saam oor die vroeg opstaan! Miskien is ek net te nuuskierig dat ek iets gaan mis as ek nie opstaan nie. 😀


      1. scrapydo2

        Dis nogal goed gestel. As boervrou moes mens maar vroeg uit die vere om te gaan melk en diere versorg. Die vroegopstaan is maar in die bloed. Hier is ook die spesiale vroeë voëlgesang voor almal in hul karre klim en werktoe jaag

        Liked by 1 person

  13. joannesisco

    The poor Waterbuck … having to go through life with a permanent target painted on his butt. However, given the half smile on his face in profile, I’d say he was generally a happy guy 😉

    Great photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. loisajay

    I know it is the circle of life, but it pains me so to know that any of the beautiful creatures you capture on film are fair game for other animals. They are so regal looking…until the back end and then I just have to chuckle.



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