Waterbuck is a much sought after large plains game antelope found in most parts of Africa. The common waterbuck has a large elliptical ring around the rump while the defassa subspecies have a solid white rump patch.
Waterbuck is a member of the kob antelope family with originally over 37 recognised subspecies - nearly every early African explorer or hunter found a different coloured waterbuck and thought it was a new subspecies. Modern science has since decided all waterbuck (defassa and common) are the same species, frequently interbreeding where ranges overlap such as in Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania.
However, Rowland Ward and SCI maintain records for the common waterbuck and the various defassa waterbuck found in specific locations.
Where To Hunt A Waterbuck
- You can hunt a common waterbuck, the one with a ring around the rump, in Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and in central and east Tanzania, including the Selous.
- You can hunt a defassa waterbuck, the one without a ring around the rump, in a wide swathe of African savanna from the west coast across to South Sudan. In Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and CAR, the waterbuck is known as the Sing-sing defassa.
- At the CAR/South Sudan border, the Sing-sing defassa changes into the typical or East African defassa waterbuck. So if you are hunting a waterbuck in Uganda, north and west Tanzania or Ethiopia, it will be the East African defassa. Except, if you were intending to enter a record-breaking East African defassa into the Rowland Ward book (not SCI) it just might be a Ugandan defassa. The Ugandan defassa technically occurs west of the Ethiopian highlands, through South Sudan and Uganda into west Tanzania.
- The waterbuck you can hunt in most of Zambia is likely to be a Crawshay's defassa except in the far south where it overlaps with the common waterbuck.
- The Angolan waterbuck is no longer huntable.
Which Waterbuck Is Which?
The common and defassa waterbucks are quite similar in appearance. The main difference is the rump ring on the common waterbuck and the solid white patch on the rump of the defassa waterbuck. The common waterbuck is slightly taller, generally has slightly longer horns and is usually a grey-brown colour.
The defassa waterbuck colour varies from a dark black-brown to a light sand colour depending on the location.