The Ugandan kob (Kobus kob thomasi) is an antelope subspecies of the kob. Uganda’s national antelope is a race of the west African kob confined to grassy floodplains and open vegetation near water in Uganda and southern Sudan.
Although closely related to the waterbuck and reedbuck, Uganda kob is reddish-brown, similar to the impala but bulkier in appearance and lacking the impala’s black side-stripe.
The underside of its body is white. A white ring appears around its eyes and a white chevron on the throat. It has a black stripe that runs down the front of each foreleg. Males have horns; though lyre-shaped, they are shorter, thicker, and ringed almost to the tip.
Uganda kob lives in herds of up to 100 animals in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park and neighbouring conservation areas, Semliki National Park and Katonga Wildlife Reserve.
They usually live in herds and are generally found near water in savannah plains, woodlands, swamps, and flood plains.
Unlike other antelopes, Uganda kob males practice the art of courtship that involves premating and postmating behaviour. The males are gentle with the females, enticing them to stay in their territory rather than forcing them. They make soft noises during courtship play, repeatedly whistling through their nostrils after mating. The sound sweeps across breeding grounds, and the other territorial males sometimes echo it back.
The Uganda kob’s social structure is based on small herds coming together to form larger groups of up to 1,000 animals.
Unlike most other antelopes, kobs have permanent breeding grounds, called leks, where almost all mating takes place — some of which have been in continuous use for more than five decades. Lekking grounds are usually in an elevated area near water, roughly circular with a diameter of about 18 to 90 meters.
When females are in mating season, they are roused by the concentrated deposits of hormone-rich urine in the leks. Competition for the innermost territories is fierce during mating seasons, and males will hold their territories for at least 24 hours before relinquishing them.
Uganda kobs graze on short grass and depend on larger animals like elephants, hippos, buffalo, hartebeest and topi for prime grazing grounds.
Like waterbuck and reedbucks, they develop attachments to particular places, returning to the same grazing grounds and watering holes for days and seasons.
You can’t miss seeing kob during a game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls National Park.
A walking safari in the Murchison conservation area, Semiliki and Katonga Wildlife Reserves will bring close to large herds of Uganda kob.
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