oa African Zoology - Territorial behaviour of the black wildebeest Connochaetes gnou

Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



The territorial behaviour of the black wildebeest was studied from 1968 to 1970 in the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve and other reserves in South Africa. Territoriality is a prerequisite for reproduction. Non-territorial males are barred from partaking in the rut. Territorial males may occupy a territory from their fourth year on, but the majority of territorial owners were five years old or more. They formed a network of territories, although single territorial males could also be observed. Black wildebeest showed a strong and lasting attachment to their territories. The encounters of territorial males were governed by highly ritualised motor patterns (Challenge Ritual). The ritual includes both aggressive and non-aggressive behaviour patterns. Territorial behaviour include the separation of sexes and the spacing out of the population.

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