Common Waterbuck

Common Waterbuck Kobus ellipsiprymnus

Type of Animal:

Savanna, grassland, riverine/gallery forest, woodland, scrub, rivers, lakes, thickets, riparian areas, river edge, floodplains. Almost always near permanent water source.

E & S.E. Africa w/ disjunct population in SW Angola.

Brown to reddish-brown with bull’s eye on buttocks, fairly large, only males have horns, large males have little neck tuft, horns are ringed & sharp. Males darker than females, coat darkens w/ age on both sexes.

Grasses, leaves, fruits, reeds, other plant material.

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos, wildlife parks, & ranches

Herds consist of a dominant male & his harem of 5-30 females & calves. Some breeding herds have 1-3 subordinate males. Other males found in bachelor herds of 5-15 animals or alone.

Additional Info:


Male-440-660 lbs
Female-350-440 lbs
Young-30-40 lbs

8.5 months

Male-4-5 ft
Female-4-4.5 ft

Body Length:
5.8-7.7 ft

Life Span:
Up to 18 years

Tail Length:
1-1.3 ft

Main predators are lions, hyenas, wild dogs, crocodiles, leopards, cheetahs, & bull sharks. Calves preyed on by pythons.

Dominant males highly territorial- they have killed each other in fights by goring each other.

Waterbuck need to drink a lot, which is why found near water.

Waterbuck declining due to hunting, habitat loss, competition w/ livestock. Still common in wild.

Generally shy, non-aggressive, & flighty, some males do become aggressive if wounded or rutting & have attacked people.

If seriously threatened by predators, waterbuck takes refuge in water. This can also be a problem since then they fall prey to crocodiles.

Fairly common animal on exotic game hunting ranches in Texas.

Also called ellipsis waterbuck due to elliptical ring on rump.

When female’s in heat, male courts her by rubbing face & horn base on back & also taps her between her hind legs w/ foreleg.

Females keep calves well-hidden for 1st 2 months of life.

Sexually mature at 1.5-2 years old but males typically don’t start breeding until 5 years old.

Fun Fact(s):
There is a myth saying meat is inedible. This is due to scent glands that deter predators. In fact, scent glands have to be taken out. Then, meat is edible.

They’re known to have very pungent odor.

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