Ourebia ourebioribi

Geographic Range

The distribution of Ourebia ourebi is patchy and discontinuous throughout the grasslands of central and southern Africa. It is found in the moist areas of Northern and Southern savanna, across Guinea Savanna to Ethiopia and south through western East Africa to Tanzania (Estes, 1991).


Ourebia ourebi live in open grasslands. They prefer short grasses with patchy areas of tall grasses to provide hiding places. They like grasslands that are not extremely tall or dense and with some bushes. They avoid steep slopes.

Physical Description

The oribi has silky, yellow to reddish-brown coat with white fur on underparts of body and rump. Also, it has a distinctive white line of fur over its eye and a bare, dark patch beneath each ear. Ourebia ourebi also has a tuft of long hair on each "knee" and a short black tail (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2004). It has very distinct preorbital glands that fill most of the space between the eye and mouth. These glands appear as vertical folds on the side of the face. The oribi stands about 50-66cm to the shoulder and has a body length ranging from 92-110cm. It has very long legs and neck. Males have small, spike like horns that range from 8-19cm in length (Smith, 1985). (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2004; Smith, Stephen J., 1985)

  • Range mass
    12 to 22 kg
    26.43 to 48.46 lb
  • Range length
    92 to 110 cm
    36.22 to 43.31 in


Ourebia ourebi breeds throughout the year, with its peak season in October and November (Openshaw, 1993). The oribi has a monogomous to polygynous mating system with the males maintaining the territory and sharing it with one to two or more females. Females are able to conceive as early as ten months and males are sexually active by fourteen months (Estes, 1991). Their gestation period lasts from six to seven months and one young is borne at a time. (Estes, 1991; Openshaw, 1993)

  • Breeding interval
    Breed once per year.
  • Breeding season
    Can breed year-round, peak in October-November.
  • Range number of offspring
    1 to 2
  • Average number of offspring
  • Average number of offspring
  • Range gestation period
    6 to 7 months
  • Range weaning age
    4 to 5 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    10 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    Sex: female
    304 days
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    14 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    Sex: male
    426 days



Ourebia ourebi are solitary mammals or live in pairs. Occasionally they travel in small groups with up to six members. They are active mostly during the day. Ourebia ourebi is one of the few mammals that benefits from wild fires. Once a fire is finished the oribi return to the area and eat the fresh green grass.

Adult males mark their territory with secretions from their preorbital glands. They patrol their area, marking the grass with combinations of black secretions from the preorbital glands and urination and defecation.

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

The oribi is both a grazer and browser. It grazes during the wet season when fresh grass is readily available, and it browses when drought occurs and fresh grass is less common. This herbivorous mammal consumes at least eleven different herbs and eats the foliage from seven different trees. It has also been known to visit mineral licks every one to three days (Kingdon, 1982).


Natural enemies of the oribi include leopards, caracals and pythons. Young oribi also are threatened by jackals, the Libyan wildcat, ratels, baboons, eagles and monitors.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Ourebia ourebi is hunted for food and by recreational hunters.

  • Positive Impacts
  • food

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Ourebia ourebi occasionally cause damage to field crops such as wheat and oats because these foods resemble their natural diet (Kingdon, 1982).

Conservation Status

The combination of continued agricultural and urban development, bush encroachment and increased vulnerability to poachers threatens the persistance Ourebia ourebi.

Protected areas (parks, wildlife refuges) exist to provide a safe environment for this species. The IUCN has listed the species as "Lower Risk, but Conservation Dependent." This means that if current conservation efforts were ended, the species would be in greater danger of extinction.


George Hammond (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Dayna Frey (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

World Map


young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

sexual ornamentation

one of the sexes (usually males) has special physical structures used in courting the other sex or fighting the same sex. For example: antlers, elongated tails, special spurs.


associates with others of its species; forms social groups.


uses touch to communicate

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.

year-round breeding

breeding takes place throughout the year


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December 23, 1998. "Southern Africa's Threatened Wildlife" (On-line). Accessed October 17, 1999 at http://www.infoweb.co.za/enviro/ewtbook/page2.htm.

"Zoo Boise Education Center Tour" (On-line). Accessed October 20, 1999 at http://sunvalleyski.com/zooboise/centour1.html.

Corbet, G.B., , Hill, J.E.. 1991. A World List of Mammalian Species; 3rd edition. New York: Oxford University Press.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2004. "Oribi" (On-line). Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Accessed 11/01/04 at http://search.eb.com/eb/article?tocId=9057366.

Estes, R. 1991. The Behavior Guide to African Mammals. Los Angeles, California: University of California Press.

Kingdon, Jonathan, 1982. East African Mammals: An Atlas of Evolution in Africa; volume III part C. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press.

Openshaw, P. 1993. Mass capture of antelope, buffalo, giraffe, and zebra. A McKenzie, ed. The Capture and Care Manual: Capture, Care, Accommodation, and Transportation of Wild African Animals. Wildlife Decision Support Services. Accessed November 01, 2004 at http://wildnetafrica.co.za/estate/capturecare/.

Smith, Stephen J., 1985. The Atlas of Africa's Principal Mammals. Republic of South Africa: Natural History Books.