The Blue Wildebeest, Connochaetes taurinus, is of the hoofed group of animals.
It is not the most prettiest of animals, but like all animals have its role to play in the food chain. It is a
hardy species and occurs wide spread over Namibia. Huge numbers of this species are to be found in Etosha National Park, but they are also quite common on commercial and game
farms across Namibia.
The Blue wildebeest is a grazer. It prefers grass but will also take succulent
plants. As it is part of the cattle family it is also a ruminant. This means that food already chewed are brought
up from the rumen again, and chewed again. This process is known as the chewing the cud. For safety reasons, Blue
wildebeest graze during the day. Early morning and towards the afternoon are active grazing times. During night
they just tend to stay together as a herd in order to detect predators.
Contact us to see these animals in the wild during your Namibia safari.
Blue wildebeest are gregarious and usually are found in huge herds. These herds tend to travel from grazing spot
to grazing spot through out the year. The most famous of these migrations must be the Serengeti migrations.
Hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, both black and blue travel in huge herds during this annual migration to fresh
grazing fields. Scent glands in the hoof of the Blue wildebeest help the rest of the group to follow each
other. Due to the fact that Blue Wildebeest travel in such big herds, there is a lot of social interaction
between members of a herd. There are not territorial fights as such. Fighting or play fighting between bulls occurs
mainly during the mating season. Most of these fights are more playing, and usually no one is hurt during this
ritual. Mating usually occur at the onset of the rainy season. In Namibia this is mid November to January. The
gestation period is between eight and nine months, and a single calf is born. This is dangerous times for both cow
and calf, and the calf is usually on its feet within 15 minutes after birth.
Blue Wildebeest is the favourite prey of Lions and Spotted Hyenas. Leopard and cheetah will take calves or sub adults. In the Serengeti, crocodiles are another predator that
lurk in the rivers that the wildebeest cross during their annual migration. Living in a herd is about the
only defence that Blue Wildebeest have against predators. Another mechanism of escape is flight. Blue Wildebeest
have long and elegant legs which make them fast runners with many eyes and ears around; it is difficult for
predators to attack a herd. A Blue Wildebeest cow will try and defend her calf if taken, but this is usually not
Blue Wildebeest prefers the open veldt and savannah areas. These animals are found from central Namibia towards
the north of Namibia. The main places in Namibia where they can be seen in huge numbers are in Etosha National
Park. It is indeed an amazing sight to see a herd as they graze or move in the wild.
The Bushmen have a story about how the Blue Wildebeest got to be so ugly. They say that when the moon was
handing out horns and faces to the antelope of the world, the Blue Wildebeest pushed to the front because he wanted
to have a pretty face and a nice set of horns. The moon got angry and pulled a burning piece of wood from the fire
and hit the blue wildebeest over its face with it, and up to today the blue wildebeest have a flat and black nose
from that burning piece of wood.