SIZE: Shoulder height (m) 1,5 m (f) 1,35 m; mass (m) 250 kg, (f) 180 kg. Both sexes have horns. COLOUR: Greyish brown, appearing slate blue in certain light, with darker vertical stripes on neck and flanks. Black, erect mane and horselike tails. GESTATION PERIOD: 8.5 months POTENTIAL LONGEVITY: 20 years RECORD LENGTH OF HORNS: 83 cm MOST LIKE: The Black Wildebeest, which is shorter and lighter than the blue wildebeest; the former has a yellowish-white tail that almost reaches the ground. HABITAT: Open savanna, woodland with short grass; open grass plains. Water essential.

These clumsy clowns of the wild, with their humped shoulders, sloping backs and rocking-horse gait may justifiably snort and grunt in alarm, toss their massive heads about nervously and search the air for scents of predators: being the favourite prey of lions they have to be ever on the alert. They are gregarious, and occur in herds of 20 to 30 individuals; they may also form much larger herds numbering thousands. Like the black wildebeest, their social organization consists of territorial males, female herds, and bachelor groups. On their massive migrations, the younger, non-territorial bulls travel at the perimeter of the herd, often relying on the timidity of accompanying zebra for an early warning if predators are about. Exceptionally inquisitive, blue wildebeest often stand and stare at an intruder, before suddenly whirling round and galloping off. Blue wildebeest are tough and although normally timid, will fight ferociously when cornered. A single calf is born, usually between December and January. The young stay close to their mothers, who will suckle only their own calf

The Blue Wildebeest is actually a dark silver-grey, sometimes with a brown tinge, although in some lights it does appear bluish-grey. They have humped shoulders, deep necks, and more lightly-built hindquarters: the slope from shoulder to hindquarters is also more pronounced than in black wildebeest. Driven by their need for water and their partiality for fresh, sprouting grass, blue wildebeest have an amazing ability to track down a rainstorm – even if it is many kilometres away. Sometimes in herds of thousands, they will follow the sound of thunder, or perhaps the sight of rain clouds, until they reach the freshly fallen rain. They are associated with savanna woodland, as in addition to abundant drinking water they also require adequate shade.