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Wildebeests, also called gnus, or wildebai, are a genus of antelopes, Connochaetes. In East Africa, the blue wildebeest is the most abundant big game species; some populations perform an annual migration to new grazing grounds, but the black wildebeest is merely nomadic. Breeding in both takes place over a short period of time at the end of the rainy season and the calves are soon active and are able to move with the herd. Nevertheless, some fall prey to large carnivores.
Both species of wildebeest are even-toed, horned, greyish-brown ungulates resembling cattle. Males are larger than females and both have heavy forequarters compared to their hindquarters. They have broad muzzles, Roman noses, shaggy manes and tails. The most striking morphological differences between the black and blue wildebeest are the orientation and curvature of their horns and the color of their coats. The blue wildebeest is the bigger of the two species. In males, blue wildebeest stand 150 cm tall at the shoulder and weigh around 250 kg, while the black wildebeest stands 111 to 120 cm tall and weighs about 180 kg. In females, blue wildebeest have a shoulder height of 135 cm and weigh 180 kg while black wildebeest females stand 108 cm at the shoulder and weigh 155 kg. The horns of blue wildebeest protrude to the side then curve downwards before curving up back towards the skull, while the horns of the black wildebeest curve forward then downward before curving upwards at the tips. Blue wildebeest tend to be a dark grey color with stripes, but may have a bluish sheen. The black wildebeest has brown-coloured hair, with a mane that ranges in color from cream to black, and a cream-coloured tail. The blue wildebeest lives in a wide variety of habitats, including woodlands and grasslands, while the black wildebeest tends to reside exclusively in open grassland areas. In some areas the blue wildebeest migrates over long distances in the winter, whereas the black wildebeest does not. The milk of the female black wildebeest contains a higher protein, lower fat, and lower lactose content than the milk of the blue wildebeest. Wildebeest can live more than forty years, though their average lifespan is around twenty years.