AskDefine | Define kob

Dictionary Definition

kob n : an orange-brown antelope of southeast Africa [syn: Kobus kob]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. An African antelope closely related to the lechwe and the waterbuck.



  1. fate
  2. destiny




  1. fate
  2. destiny
  3. omen

Extensive Definition

The Kob (Kobus kob) is an antelope found across Sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal to Sudan. Found along the Northern Savanna, often seen in Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda; Garamba and Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as grassy floodplains of Southern Sudan.
Kob stand 70 to 100 centimetres at the shoulder and weigh from 80 to 100 kilograms. Their backs are an orange-red colour, which lightens to white on the undersides and legs. There are white rings around the eyes and a black stripe down the legs. The short ringed horns, found only in males, are around 50 centimetres in length and arch out slightly so that they are somewhat 'S' shaped in profile.
Kob are found in wet areas (such as floodplains) where they eat grass. Kob are diurnal, but inactive during the heat of the day. They live in groups of either females and calves or just males. These groups generally range from five to forty animals.
Among the Kobs of Eastern Africa, the Ugandan Kob (Kobus kob thomasi) appears on the coat of arms of Uganda, and the White-eared Kob (Kobus Kob leucotis), found in Sudan and Ethiopia, participate in large-scale migrations.


The 1500km migration of up to a million White-eared Kob in southern Sudan each year rivals that of the great herds of the Serengeti. Following the massive displacements of the 25-year Sudan war (ceasefire: Jan 2005), it was thought that the kob may be largely reduced, but they were observed in huge herds in January 2007:
Seeing thousands upon thousands upon thousands of white-eared kob streaming under the aircraft, day after day, was like I had died and was having the most unbelievable dream you could ever have. - J. Michael Fay, National Geographic
Indeed, it is possible that the herds have flourished better than usual with less human intervention.
Males are territorial and in some areas are found patrolling circular territories less than thirty metres across surrounded by other males guarding similar territories, these groups of territories are called leks and rarely contain more than fifteen animals. The male patrols the border of his territory whistling loudly and may only hold the territory for a week before moving on, typically with several other members of the lek.


Females reach sexual maturity at 13 months and males at around 18 months; at this point, male sub-adults usually leave the group and stake out territory in a lek. One young is born after a gestation period of 7.5-9 months. While births may occur throughout the year, in drought-prone areas there is a peak at the end of the rains (September-December).
After birth, the young lie concealed for about six weeks; after which time, they follow their mothers. They are weaned after about 6-7 months.


The behavior of the kob has been an influential example in the development of the field of ethology. Robert Ardrey cites several key behaviors (based on research by Helmut K. Buechner at Washington State University):
  • Male kobs compete for territory, never for females.
  • On a kob stamping ground (called a "lek" by later researchers), the "proprietor" of the territory almost always wins any fight.
  • The psychological advantage of the proprietor reduces the incidence and severity of actual fighting.
  • Antagonism between male kobs is confined to the stamping ground.
  • Copulation occurs nowhere but on the stamping ground.
  • Populations of kob do not mix.
  • "Attachment to a piece of ground is stronger than to the female herd."


kob in Czech: Voduška kob
kob in German: Kob
kob in Spanish: Kobus kob
kob in French: Cobe de Buffon
kob in Hebrew: קובוס שחור רגל
kob in Lithuanian: Pelkinis ožys
kob in Low German: Kob
kob in Dutch: Kob
kob in Norwegian: Kob
kob in Polish: Kob żółty
kob in Portuguese: Kobus kob
kob in Chinese: 赤羚
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