A waterbuck is one of large antelopes that are found widely in sub-Saharan Africa. Waterbucks are placed in the genus kobus of the family Bovidae. The waterbuck was first named as the Irish naturalist.

There are other thirteen subspecies that are grouped under two varieties, the waterbuck and the deffassa waterbuck. The body length from the head is between 177cm -235cm and the average height is between 120 and 136cm. The females have a height of 119cm, and males weigh 198 -262kg and females 161-214kg.the coat of the waterbuck varies from brown to grey, with long spiral horns, there found only on males, their bodies curve backwards, and their forward body is 57-99cm long. Waterbuck is a gregarious animal. A group of a waterbuck is called a herd and it consists of six to 30 individuals.

The group of herd has females, bachelors and their offspring’s. Males start showing their behaviors from the age of five years, although their most dominant from the age of six to nine.

  The waterbuck cannot tolerate dehydration in hot weather; it inhabits areas that are close to sources of water.

The waterbucks are found on grassland, in areas of equatorial regions, breading takes place throughout the year, and giving birth takes place during wet/rainy season.

Gestation period

Waterbucks take seven to eight months; they give birth to single calves. Waterbucks inhabit savanna and scrubs areas along valleys, lakes and rivers.

Waterbucks have sparse ecotone   There six species   of the genus kobus and it belongs to the family Bovidae .the waterbucks acquired their name due to its heavy dependence to other antelopes  with ability to enter into water for defiance.

Due to  their requirement for grasslands.

The waterbuck ancestral home is considered to be eastern coast of Africa-with the horn of Africa to the north and East African Rift valley to the west.


They were about 37 subspecies of waterbuck; they are recognized by their coat of covert. Waterbucks are classified into two groups the deffassa waterbuck, and Ellipsen waterbuck. Waterbucks, is a robust build. Their characterized by a long neck and throat,   strong and black legs, females have two nipples.

The common waterbucks and defasa waterbucks are different in their physical appearance. Although the common waterbuck stands taller than the defassa waterbuck.

However they have a great differentiation, there is a white ring of hair surrounding the tail on the rump, and allow circle in the common waterbuck which is covered with white hair in the deffassa waterbuck.

Waterbucks migrate with the onset of monsoon. As soon as the young males start developing horns at the age of nine months, they are chased out of the herd by territorial bulls. They will form bachelor herds, a few females may form spinster herds, although they are seldom aggressive, and minor tension may arise in herds.

Males use several kinds of display, the white patch on the throat and between the yeyes are clearly revealed and thus displaying the thickness of the neck. The activities frighten trespassers, lowering of the head and bodies depict submission before the territorial male, who stands erect.

Waterbucks fight although there fights may not last up to thirty minutes, the fights in love threat display typical of bovids accompanied by snorting. The fights may even become so violent that one of the opponents meets death due to severe wounds. Waterbucks enter water to escape from predators which include leopards, cheetahs, lions, Nile crocodiles, African wild dogs. However waterbucks do not like being in water.

Males often attack predators thus when alarmed incase of danger they run away .the waterbuck exhibits great dependence on water. Waterbucks have much protein than the African Buffaloes and the Oryx, waterbucks move around eating shoots, fruits and leaves.

The waterbuck is a native to southern and eastern Africa in countries including Kenya, Namibia, south Africa, Ethiopia, Botswana ,Tanzania, The Republican of Congo,  and Uganda, there other few countries of western and northern Africa such as Ghana, Niger ,Nigeria, Senegal, Chad, Cote d’lvoire. Though they are formerly widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, and their numbers have decreased in most areas. Waterbucks inhabit scrub and savanna areas along Side Rivers, lakes and valleys. Due to their requirement for grasslands as well as water,

Conservation and threats

The international union for the conservation of Nature and Nature Resources, the waterbuck’s .the common waterbucks is listed as of least concern while the deffasa water buck is threatened. The number of waterbucks in Queen Elizabeth, Akagera National park, Murchison falls National park, Comoe National park.

The population decreases in lake Nakuru National park, due  to the lead, cadmium that are high dangerous  to the kidney and liver, calcium, copper and phosphorus .

There about 60% of deffassa waterbuck population thrive in protected areas, such as Manovo, Gounda St Floris,Moukalaba-Doudou,Bui,Mole.Garamba,Mago,Omo,Virunga,ktavi,Kafue,Serengeti,queen Elizabeth National park.

NOTE: in Uganda waterbucks can be spotted in Queen Elizabeth National park, Murchison falls National Park 

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