Three sub-species occur and is probably the most abundant antelope in Africa with millions migrating across the plains of east Africa.
Three sub-species occur in separate areas across the continent, the black-bearded southern race, the white-bearded eastern race and the isolated population in Zambia.
Males defend herds of females from other males during the mating season. Outside of the mating season females mingle freely and in east Africa they gather into vast herds during the migration.
Apart from the difference in the colour of the ‘beard’ the major difference is in their social behaviour where the wildebeeste of east Africa migrate. The southern African race also once migrated but are now area bound due to human interference.
Open grasslands where water is available.
They are grazers and feed off the softer parts of the grass i.e. the new leaves. Wildebeeste are often found together with zebra as zebra feed on the coarser parts of the grass.
Birth is timed for the onset of the rains, after a gestation period of approximately 81/2 months. Young can keep up with the adults within a few minutes of birth – this is an adaptation to their migratory behaviour.