(Connochaetes gnou) Also known in Africa as the “white-tailed gnu”. Originate from the southern parts of Africa. Although natural populations have been almost completely wiped out, reintroduction has been successful in Lesotho, Swaziland, SouthAfrica, Namibia and Kenya.
The name ‘black’ wildebeest is something of a misnomer, as the coat of this species can more accurately be described as ranging from chocolate to very dark brown in color. Its alternative name, the white-tailed gnu, is perhaps better in that it describes the most striking feature of this species; the long white tail. In common with many mammals, the quality of a black wildebeest’s coat changes seasonally, becoming thicker in winter; this is clearly a homeostatic adaptation, aiding the maintenance of a stable body temperature. Smooth horns that grow forward and down from round bosses (where the horn meets the head), then curving almost straight upward into a point. Male horns are heavier, longer and with thicker bosses than that of females. Average horn length in males is ~21 inches, but can reach 32+. Females lengths are typically between 17.5 and 23.5 inches. Stand 40 to 47 inches at the shoulder. Males weigh 300 to 400 lbs, while a female generally tops the scales at 240 to 350.
In their native habitat wildebeest are constantly under high predation pressure. Therefore, females and young male wildebeest form groups of 11 to 50 animals, living by the “safety in numbers” philosophy. Older males are often solitary or spend their time in small bachelor groups. Females actually tend to be more aggressive than their male counterparts. Males may be aggressive toward humans if kept alone. Males perform mating displays in the form of ritualistic combat amongst other males. Prefer spending time dry, open plains and into grasslands. Like to use nearby brush as escape cover.
Black wildebeest are herbivorous. Indeed, their diet is not very varied; consisting almost exclusively of grass. A large proportion of leaves from succulents and shrubs in dry areas. Survive on dry grasses during dry seasons.
The black wildebeest breeding season starts in February and ends in April each year in it’s native habitat. They have a gestation period of just over eight months, with mothers generally giving birth to a single calf in either November or December (usually a 2 week peak). The young are weaned after four months but will only reach sexual maturity after about two years for females and three years for males.
Up to 20 years
Keeping Black Wildebeest
Get along well with other exotic species. Will hybridize with blue wildebeest. Six foot fencing is usually adequate for wildebeest stocking.
Black Wildebeest Hunting
Black wildebeest are more rare than the common wildebeest found throughout Texas and the U.S. Expect to pay around $10k+ for a trophy black wildebeest bull. Check out our ‘Find A Hunt’ section for featured outfitters.
Scoring Your Trophy Wildebeest, Black
SCI Record Book Minimums:
(N. America - Introduced)
Current Record(s) Held:
81 & 6/8 - Thomas C. Moore
#4 - 78 & 4/8 - Leroy White (pictured)