Scientific name:

Connochaetes gnou


What makes it special:

Sometimes referred to as the white-tailed gnu, this antelope can be recognized on its unique white or light colored tail, horns that curves frontwards then upwards and black or brown coat. It has a horse like appearance and is found only in South Africa unlike its more widespread cousin, the blue wildebeest.


Recommended caliber:

.275 is the effective minimum though larger calibers are more effective.

Hunt the Black Wildebeest – Plains Game

With ox-like features, beard and mane on the face, this antelope might look quite peaceful, but it can be very aggressive during mating, when injured and when confronted. The horns uniquely curve upwards and are found on both genders. They are easily noticeable when grazing. Closing in on them is a challenging task. With their good senses, they will often notice the approach of a predator and alert the rest of the herd. They are very fast at getting away.

Hunting method

Black wildebeest are best hunted during cool times of the day, either early in the morning or late in the evening. During cool days, you might be able to hunt them all day long. When grazing, they are easily spotted in open fields and most likely found in a herd. This might lead to the quick conclusion that they are easy animals to hunt, but they are not easily approachable because of their herd instincts and good senses. Their fast action upon noticing predation is running. However they often turn aggressive when wounded and one should expect to be charged at. Placement of the shot to bring it down faster is on the forehead below the horns or a third down from the middle line above the shoulders. When charged at, one should take no chances. 

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Know the animal


Black or brown in color with a white tail similar to horses. They have mane on the middle line above the shoulders and on the nose. In addition to that they have long beards. Their bodies are well built and grow to a length of about 2 meters. Both the male and female have horns that curve upwards. They grow to weigh up to 157 kg though females are relatively lighter and smaller in size compared to males. Males can attain shoulder heights of up to 121 cm.



Exclusively found in the grasslands and bushvelts of South Africa.



They are majorly herbivorous. They feed on a variety of grasses and shrubs.



Black wildebeests are large members of the antelope family. Their size and defensive strength minimizes the number of predators, but the lion is known to successfully hunt them down. Young ones also fall prey to leopards, jackal, and cheetahs.


Life cycle

The gestation period is eight and a half months and their reproduction is highly seasonal. They mate at the end of the rainy season and give birth two to three weeks before the onset of rains. Female black wildebeest do not separate from the herd to go and give birth. The young ones gain mobility around 20 minutes after birth. They are breastfed for four months after which they have developed horn buds and four incisors. Males attain sexual maturity after three years, the female after two and a half years. The female gives birth once every year.



The black wildebeest are social animals. They form three types of herds; the adult females with their young ones, territorial males and bachelors packs. The number of animals in a herd depends on the amount of forage. Typical numbers are 14 to 32. When they notice the approach of a predator their first action is fleeing though when injured they become aggressive and defends themselves. They have a speed of up to 80 km/h, which is relatively fast compared to animals of their size.

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Animal Facts

Weight and size

Weight: Up to 157 kg.

Shoulder height: Up to 121 cm.



They are found in plains and grassland of South Africa.



They are purely herbivores and feed on a variety of grass and shrubs.



The lion. Jackals, hyenas, leopard and cheetahs also predate wildebeest calves.


Life cycle

Up to 20 years.

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