Oribi Antelope (Ourebia ourebi)

Oribi are the largest of the 'dwarf' Antelope and are 43" (1.1 metres) long, plus a varying tail length of 2 - 6 inches (6 - 15cm). They are 24 inches (60cm) to the shoulder in height. Males are smaller than females and only the males carry short, straight, 4 inch (10cm) horns that are ridged at the base. Their coats are short haired. They have orange-red upperparts and white underparts, rump & inner thighs, extending to the lower chest. The dorsal area and underparts is often curly. Their necks and legs are fairly long and slim. Conversely, their usually black-tipped tails are short. Knees have tufts of hair on them. There are pale, off-white patches on the throat, both sides of the nostrils and above their eyes. Ears are erect and medium-sized, featuring a black gland-spot beneath them. Their backs are sloping.

Oribi are seen in many non-arid areas of Kenya and are also absent from lowland forests. They prefer open savanna with short grass for feeding and long grass for cover.

Oribi generally produce their single lamb during the rainy seasons, after a gestation period of 210 days. The lamb stays hidden in long grass for the first 3 - 4 months of its life, before joining the group. At that time they are weaned and eat short grasses.
Oribi are sexually mature at approximately one year old, but rams do not generally mate until they are older and able to fight during a rut. When young rams become sexually mature, they are evicted from the group by the territorial ram. Ewes are tolerated for longer, until they are taken up by a wandering ram. Oribi live for up to 12 years in the wild.

Oribi are predated by all the Big Cats and Jackals.

Oribi are seen either in pairs or small family groups - typically a single ram and up to four ewes, plus young. The ram is very territorial, creating dung heaps and giving off a secretion from the preorbital (round the eyes) and other glands, as markers around a territory extending up to 1 square kilometer. This marking of a territory is initiated by the older female/s in the group. If disturbed, they either whistle or snort and run away with stiff legged jumps, at up to 30mph (50kph). Despite which, they are an inquisitive animal and turn back to look for the source of a disturbance, after running a short distance. Some lie down in long grass, hiding and are then difficult to see. They are active during the day.

Oribi are not reliant on water, gaining all the moisture in the grasses and leaves they eat. They much prefer short, sweet grass, holding plenty of moisture, to long, dry grass.

Other Oribi Facts
Oribi vary somewhat in their appearance and some races have been raised to sub-species level by experts. For example, the sub-species Haggard's Oribi (O. o. haggardi) of eastern coastal Kenya is very different in size and colour from other Oribi seen in Kenya.
Eberhardt August Wilhelm von Zimmermann (1743 - 1815), a German zoologist, was the first person to describe the Oribi, in 1782.

Images taken in Kenya's Masai Mara.

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:animal, antelope, kenya, oribi, oribi antelope, wildlife

Oribi Antelope ~ Ram

Oribi ram, chewing the short grasses of a savanna in Kenya's Masai Mara.