Blue Wildebeest

Connochaetes taurinus taurinus

The Blue (or Common) Wildebeest must be one of Africa’s most familiar antelope, although it will probably never be included in a list of the continent’s most elegant creatures. Bulls stand around 1.5m high at the shoulder, and weigh about 240kg, while cows are more lightly built at around 180kg.

Blue wildebeest inhabit open grasslands, savannas and semi-deserts, where they subsists almost exclusively on short grasses and require a reliable supply of water, even in arid regions.

These diurnal herbivores congregate in herds of up to 10,000 (but mostly much smaller – a few dozen or so), consisting mostly of cows and calves traversing the territories of mature bulls. Smaller bachelor herds made up of bulls unable to maintain a territory of their own also occur. They will cover enormous distances trekking after fresh grazing and water. Blue wildebeest are commonly found associating with other game species, especially impala, giraffes and plains zebras, and have a curious love for rolling in mud and dung!

Calves are born in the herd at the onset of the rainy season and can walk within 10 minutes of birth. Blue wildebeest have an expected life span of around 15 years, fall prey to all Africa’s large predators and also suffer from several parasites and sicknesses.

In South Africa, Blue Wildebeest can be found in all of the northern provinces, though mostly confined to national parks, nature reserves and game ranches. Large populations can be found in Kruger National Park, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, Pilanesberg National Park, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Ithala Game Reserve and uMkhuze Game Reserve. The IUCN considers the Common Wildebeest (C. taurinus) to be of least concern in conservation terms, estimating the total population at around 1,5-million, of which 130,000 belong to the southern subspecies, the Blue Wildebeest (C. t. taurinus).

Wildebeest silhouette

Wildebeest silhouette

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62 thoughts on “Blue Wildebeest

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  10. Dan Drews

    Thanks for the great pics and info. You said, that among other places, some of these animals can be found on game farms. Is their meat marketable or is this just for big game hunters?

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Glad you enjoyed our blue wildebeest post, thanks Dan. They are hunted mostly for their venison, which is quite good – especially as biltong, which is a traditional salted, dried meat treat that we South Africans eat in enormous quantities.

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  11. lexklein

    At the same time that I find wildebeests very ugly and almost scary-looking, I also find them utterly fascinating. They seem to be from another time and place. Your photos are great!

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  12. Ladybuggz

    Why are they called blue? I didn’t see any blue on them, but I had a Yorkshire Terrier that was “blue” but in reality he was a grayish colour ? Does the same go for the Wilda beasts? T. 🙂

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  13. boesmanpos

    Op die oop stuk veld voor ons huis, waar daar minder matjarras en akasias groei en die gras in die somer amper soos weiding lyk, hou ‘n eensame (dink ek) bejaarde blouwildebeesbul. Op ‘n Sondagmiddag l^e hy rustig in die skadukol digby die watergat en snags hoor ons hom proes. Jacobus s^e hy is leeukos en ons hou ons harte vas elke oggend. Soms verdwaal hy na ander vlaktes op die plaas en dan verwelkom ons hom soos ‘n ou vriend wanneer hy weer een warm middag skielik langs ons snork terwyl ons met die honde gaan stap

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Ek wonder of die ou nie aanvoel dat dit veiliger vir hom is so naby aan die mense nie? Wat n wonderlike voorreg om so naby aan die ongerepte natuur te kan leef!

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  14. Pat

    Thanks for this post! I have been fascinated by these curious creatures for some time now. Such a strange face. And horns that look more like the buffalo than an antelope. I’ve heard some say they can go through grass like a lawnmower! 🙂

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Glad to know you enjoyed our blue wildebeest post so much, Pat – look out for our black wildebeest post next week. They are very efficient grazers, and unlike cattle (and buffalo) do not pluck the grass out of the ground when grazing on their favourite short shoots, so their favourite fields can start looking like neatly manicured lawns at times.

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  15. iAMsafari.com

    You’re on the money, Dries. I think I never took taken one single photo of a wildebeest; they graze, migrate and act as a food source for the more notorious inhabitants of the Savannah, so go kind of unnoticed for me…

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  16. scrapydo2.wordpress.com

    Al is hul nou nie hoog op lys van skoonheid/mooiheid nie het jy hul rerig baie mooi voorgestel in jou fotos. Hul is baie interessante diere vr my. Hul lyk of hul velle so sag soos fluweel voel- veral die gesig en neus deel. Baie mooi man!

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