The waterbuck is quite a large antelope, with a coarse, shaggy grey – brown coat and can easily be identified by its distinctive white ring on its rump. Only the bull carries the long, ringed horns. There is usually a white band present on the upper throat, with a white patch around the muzzle. A strong, distinctive smell is given off by a gland in their skin. They seem similar to Reedbuck, which are smaller and lighter coloured. Waterbuck are always associated with water (hence the name), preferring areas with tall grass or reed beds. They can be found grazing in open grassland, close to cover. They are grazers; however, they will browse on occasion, mainly in the dry season. They usually live in small herds of around 10 individuals, but there have been reports of herds getting up to 30 individuals. Young bulls form bachelor herds that will circulate in areas well away from territory holding bulls. Adult bulls establish a territory in which he tries to hold cows in order to mate with them. A female’s gestation period is around 280 days, and can give birth at any point during the year. She will give birth to a single calf and will keep her baby hidden for the first 3 – 5 weeks. Their lifespan is around 18 years in the wild.
Story by Freedom (River Lodge)