Willy Wildebeest

“Habari” (hello in Swahili) again, children. My name is Willy and I’m a wildebeest. I showed Zeb Zebra and Oki Oxpecker around Tanzania. We had a terrific time exploring the Ngorongoro Crater and much more besides.

To learn a bit more about me and other wildebeests, do take a look at the Five Fun Facts below. Under that, there’s a word search and a colouring sheet. The colouring sheet shows Zeb, Oki, and me on our boat safari, in the Selous Game Reserve.

Five Fun Facts about Willy and wildebeests:

  • Willy is a blue wildebeest. Wildebeest come in two species – blue and black. Blue wildebeest are blue-ish rather than true blue and tend to be blue-ish grey, brown-ish grey, or, like Willy, a rather smart shade of slate!
  • Wildebeest are also called gnu. The “g” is silent in this word, so it sounds a bit like “new”. Once Zeb asked Willy, “What’s new?”, and Willy thought Zeb was asking about wildebeest! Willy laughed and laughed when he realised his mistake!
  • Most people know about wildebeest because of the famous Great Migration, when hundreds of thousands of blue wildebeest move around Tanzania and Kenya in search of food! Black wildebeest are described as “nomadic”, which means they wander around rather than following a particular route.
  • The wildebeest mating season is called the “rut”. Male wildebeests, called “bulls”, set up their own territories from May to July and attract wildebeest cows by standing up very tall and shouting “Ga-noo!” Perhaps they mean “Gnu!” Blue wildebeest calves are born from January to March, while the herds are grazing on the Serengeti’s southern plains.
  • Wildebeests often graze with zebras. This is because zebras like the upper part of the grass and wildebeests like the lower part. So it makes sense for the two species to eat together on the plains!