Kobus ellipsiprymnus ssp. ellipsiprymnus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Kobus ellipsiprymnus ssp. ellipsiprymnus (Ogilbyi, 1833)
Parent Species:
Common Name(s):
English Common Waterbuck, Ellipsen Waterbuck
Taxonomic Notes: Common Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus ellipsiprymnus) is one of two subspecies of Waterbuck recognized (formerly regarded as distinct species); the other being Defassa Waterbuck (K. e. defassa). Lorenzen et al. (2006) found a high degree of genetic differentiation between the subspecies and strongly confirmed hybridization in Kenya’s Nairobi N.P. population.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-09-20
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Hoffmann, M.
Listed as Least Concern as numbers are estimated at 105,000, with more than 50% in protected areas and 13% on private land, and there is no evidence that the subspecies approaches the thresholds necessary for listing as Near Threatened or Vulnerable.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Common Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus ellipsiprymnus) broadly occurs east of the Eastern Rift Valley, extending southwards to about the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi N.P. in KwaZulu-Natal and central Namibia (Spinage 2013). Common Waterbuck are extinct in Ethiopia, though Defassa Waterbuck remain (Spinage 2013).

For the distribution map, see the parent species assessment: Kobus ellipsiprymnus.
Countries occurrence:
Angola (Angola); Botswana; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia (Caprivi Strip); Somalia; South Africa; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Regionally extinct:
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:East (1999) produced a global population of approximately 105,000 Common Waterbuck (a conservative corrected continent-wide estimate based mainly on aerial surveys). No recent global population estimate is available. Overall population trend is decreasing.
Typical density estimates obtained by aerial surveys of areas where the species is reasonably common are of the order 0.05-0.15/km². Ground surveys have provided density estimates of the order 0.4-1.5/km² in areas where the species is common.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:60000-80000
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Inhabits savanna woodlands and forest-savanna mosaics near permanent water (East 1999). Common Waterbuck persist in drier regimes than the Defassa Waterbuck (Spinage 2013). Waterbuck are able to exploit a range of habitats to which its congeners are specifically adapted, albeit only to a varying degree, being not as aquatic as the Lechwe, nor as independent of water as the Kob (Spinage 2013). Waterbuck are classified as grazers, but also browse.
Generation Length (years):7.1

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Waterbuck are hunted for food and sport and are particularly susceptible due to their sedentary nature and fondness for cultivation (Spinage 2013).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Common Waterbuck have been eliminated widely within their former range mainly due to hunting (Spinage 2013).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Over 50% of Common Waterbuck occur in protected areas, plus 13% on private land (East 1999). Important populations of the Common Waterbuck occur in areas such as Tsavo, Laikipia, Kajiado, Lake Nakuru and the coastal rangelands (Kenya), Tarangire and Selous-Mikumi (Tanzania), the Luangwa Valley (Zambia), and Kruger, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi and private land (South Africa) (East 1999).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
2. Savanna -> 2.2. Savanna - Moist
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.6. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Moist
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
4. Grassland -> 4.6. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Percentage of population protected by PAs (0-100):51-60
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Negligible declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 4 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.3. Trade trends

Bibliography [top]

East, R. (compiler). 1999. African Antelope Database 1998. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-2. Available at: (Accessed: 14 September 2017).

Lorenzen, E.D., Simonsen, B.T., Kat, P.W., Arctander, P. and Siegismund, H.R. 2006. Hybridization between subspecies of waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus) in zones of overlap with limited introgression. Molecular Ecology 15: 3787-3799.

Spinage, C.A. 2013. Kobus ellipsiprymnus Waterbuck. In: J. Kingdon & M. Hoffmann (ed.), The Mammals of Africa. VI. Pigs, Hippopotamuses, Chevrotain, Giraffes, Deer, and Bovids, pp. 461-468. Bloomsbury Publishing, London, UK.

Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group. 2017. Kobus ellipsiprymnus ssp. ellipsiprymnus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T11039A50190065. . Downloaded on 20 September 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided