Oribi (Ourebia ourebi)
The oribi (Ourebia ourebi) is a gazelle-like antelope, one of the largest ‘small’ antelopes in Africa (not much smaller than a Thomson’s gazelle) with 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. 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.
The oribi favours tall grassland, and it occurs in all of the savanna national parks except for Queen Elizabeth. It is remarkably common in the Borassus grassland in the northern part of Murchison Falls National Park, most often seen in pairs or groups of up to five animals, consisting of one male and his ‘harem’, but also sometimes in larger groups.
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.
When disturbed, the oribi emits a high-pitched sneezing sound, then bounds off in a manner mildly reminiscent of a pronking springbok. When faced with a danger – often a predator – the oribi will stand motionless in the long grass, hoping to remain undetected. Once the predator has approached and is within a few metres of the antelope, the potential prey will leap away, flashing the white underside of its tail to warn fellow buck, while emitting a high-pitched whistle. They may also jump vertically with all of their legs straight and their back arched when they are surprised by a predator. This manoeuvre is called stotting.
Oribi are found throughout sub-Saharan Africa. They inhabit parts of Angola; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d’Ivoire; Eritrea; Eswatini; Ethiopia; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Lesotho; Malawi; Mali; Mozambique; Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe.
In Uganda the Oribi has been spotted in all of the savanna national parks except for Queen Elizabeth. It is remarkably common in the Borassus grassland in the northern part of Murchison Falls National Park.