noun [ C ]
UK /ˈwɪl.də.biːst/ US /ˈwɪl.də.biːst/
a large antelope with curved horns
a herd of wildebeest
plural wildebeest or wildebeests
a large African animal with a long tail and horns that curve to the sides that lives in areas covered in grass
Wildebeest are large African antelopes and belong to the Bovidae family. The word wildebeest comes from the Afrikaans language and translates to wild beast. Another name for the wildebeest is gnu (pronounced “new”).
gnu (/njuː/ NEW or /nuː/ NOO)
‘Gnu’ is from a Khoikhoi language (which pronounced the [g]), which likely imitated it from the grunt-type noise that a wildebeest makes.
Wildebeest Word Origin
early 19th cent.: from Afrikaans, literally ‘wild beast’.
Dutch settlers first “discovered” wildebeest in about 1700, on their way to the interior of South Africa. Due to their resemblance to wild cattle, the Afrikaans people called them “wild ox/cattle” or “wildebeest” due to its untamed appearance and vigorous nature.
Wildebeest Size and Appearance
The blue wildebeest is a member of the antelope family, although its heavy build and disproportionately large forequarters make it look more bovine. They have large heads, shaggy manes, pointed beards, and sharp, curved horns. Blue wildebeests can reach 8 feet in length, stand 4.5 feet tall at the shoulders and weigh up to 600 pounds. Both males and females grow horns.
Wildebeest collective noun
confusion of wildebeests or an implausibility of wildebeests
The noun for a group of wildebeest is taken from the loud noise and confusion that erupt during migration season – caught up in the middle of the movement, your head is bound to spin.
There are two species of wildebeest: the black wildebeest or white-tailed gnu (Connochaetes gnou), and the blue wildebeest or brindled gnu (Connochaetes taurinus). In East Africa, the blue wildebeest perform the annual great migration and are the Serengeti species.
COMMON NAME: Blue Wildebeest
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Connochaetes taurinus
GROUP NAME: Herd
AVERAGE LIFE SPAN IN THE WILD: 20 years
SIZE: 125 cm (48 inches)
WEIGHT: 118 – 270 kilograms (260 – 595 pounds)
HABITAT: Open woodlands, open grassy plains.
GESTATION: 8.5 months
PREDATORS: Lions, cheetahs, hyena
Is it time to get your safari on and see some wildebeest for yourself?
Chat to us about which aspect of the Great Migration you’d most like to see. Read our explainer here. We can advise you on your Tanzania Safari and help you to plan your great migration safari to see the wildebeest herds! Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s chat Great Migration! Let’s chat Conservation through Tourism. Come and see the wildebeest for yourself.