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There are two subspecies of waterbuck; closely related but quite easy to tell apart if you get a 'rear view'. Around its rump the common waterbuck (Kobus e. ellipsiprymnus) has a an whitish ring with a dark center, while the Defassa waterbuck (K. e. defassa) has a white rump which lacks the dark patch. It also has a white ruff around the throat and white stripes around the eyes.

Both species usually roam in small family groups, often enjoying the shade of trees. Gestation lasts eight months and they live an average life span for antelope, ten to fifteen years. They are gregarious animals, often seen with other plains species, especially wildebeest and zebra.

They are never far from water and if threatened will take refuge in the nearest river or waterhole. They enjoy grazing reeds and grasses of water margins but will take drier area grasses too.

The two species ranges overlap somewhat but generally, the common waterbuck is distributed in east of the Rift Valley. Defassa waterbuck occupy the northeast, Central and West Africa. Both species are well-represented at national parks throughout this region, and although often hunted, and heavily preyed upon, their populations appear in good shape.


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