Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family:    Bovidae
Size:    Height: 3.2 to 5.6 feet (0.97 to 1.7 m)  Length: 5 to 7.3 feet (1.5 to 2.2 m)
Weight: 330 to 550 pounds (150 to 249 kg)
Diet: Mostly grass, some leaves
Distribution: Africa, south of the Sahara desert
Young:  1 per year (twins are rare)
Animal Predators:  Lions, hyenas, leopards, crocodiles and cheetahs
IUCN Status: Lower Risk, Conservation Dependent
Terms: Group: Herd
Lifespan: Average of 12 years in the wild. Up to 18 years in captivity.



·       The waterbuck was first described in 1833 by Ogilby.

·       They are good swimmers and sometimes avoid predators by swimming away.



Waterbucks have shaggy fur, that is either reddish brown or grey, with a white ring or patch on their buttocks, as well as white fur surrounding their black nose. Only the males have horns—long, thick, slightly curved horns with sharp points at the end with rings, or ridges all along them. The horns grow as the waterbuck ages—unlike antlers, they are not replaced every year, therefore the age of a male can be determined by the size of his horns. Waterbucks are known for their musky odour. The smell comes from glands that waterproof their fur. 



Waterbucks are found south of the Sahara, throughout southeast, southwest and central Africa, including countries such as Somalia, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mali and Ghana. Waterbucks need water on a daily basis, and inhabit grassland with a fresh water source nearby.


Feeding Habits

Waterbucks eat mostly grass, but supplement their diets with leaves. 



Waterbucks breed throughout the year. Females can begin mating at the age of three, and following mating, undergo a nine-month pregnancy. Just before her time, the female separates from the rest of the herd and finds a well-hidden spot where she feels safe enough to give birth. Newborns are able to stand within an hour, and for the first two to four weeks, remain hidden while their mothers graze nearby, returning frequently so their calves can nurse. By the time calves are one month old, they are able to keep up with the herd and no longer need to remain hidden. Calves continue to nurse until they are six to nine months of age. By nine months, young males begin to show the first signs of horns and drift off to go join bachelor herds, until they are old enough to establish their own territory and mate.  



Waterbucks live in large herds consisting of a dominant male, one or more subordinate males and up to as many as 70 females and juveniles. Although waterbucks are usually active by day, they are occasionally nocturnal.



Females mate again within two to five weeks of giving birth, and this high population rate is one of the reasons waterbucks are not endangered, despite the encroachment on their land and the high numbers killed by hunters. 










Waterbuck Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US