Adaptive colouration in wildebeests, part 3: focussing on the facial flag

The question has arisen of which forms of Connochaetes possess a facial flag. Here I focus on the facial profile and neck (excluding gnou), looking for fairly large-scale dark/pale contrasts.

In mearnsi, there is no case for a facial flag.

mearnsi https://focusedcollection.com/196865162/stock-photo-close-white-bearded-wildebeest-connochaetes.html and https://www.dreamstime.com/portrait-wildebeest-gnu-serengeti-tanzania-head-closeup-savannah-image132843450 and third photo in http://cannundrum.blogspot.com/2014/08/western-white-bearded-wildebeest.html

In albojubatus, the case for a facial flag is based on the crisply-defined dark on the front of the face relative to the pale on the cheeks and beard.

albojubatus https://www.kimballstock.com/popuppreview.asp?db=a&image=AFW+03+MH0029+01&itemw=4&itemf=0001&itemstep=1&itemx=3 and https://www.at-s.com/event/article/animal/436824.html and https://videohive.net/item/white-bearded-wildebeest/19821847 and https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-close-up-antelope-gnu-eating-image49675966 and https://www.gettyimages.dk/detail/news-photo/close-up-of-a-wildebeest-in-amboseli-national-park-kenya-news-photo/619464660 and https://www.grida.no/resources/2438 and https://zfc.jp/en/video/C7jnLFmDl8w

In taurinus eastern form, there is no case for a facial flag.

taurinus eastern form https://www.dreamstime.com/close-up-photo-blue-wildebeest-bull-head-also-known-as-brindled-gnu-close-up-photo-blue-wildebeest-bull-image223153468 and https://www.dreamstime.com/blue-wildebeest-evening-golden-light-kruger-national-park-south-africa-head-shot-blue-wildebeest-evening-golden-light-kruger-image113267068 and https://www.dreamstime.com/blue-wildebeest-connochaetes-taurinus-also-called-common-wildebeest-blue-wildebeest-connochaetes-taurinus-also-called-image148530031 and https://www.dreamstime.com/blue-wildebeest-connochaetes-taurinus-also-called-common-white-bearded-brindled-gnu-portrait-evening-light-image186002411

In taurinus western form, there is no case for a facial flag.

taurinus western form https://www.dreamstime.com/blue-wildebeest-side-view-africa-nationalpark-blue-wildebeest-connochaetes-taurinus-male-standing-grassland-side-view-image171896167 and https://www.dreamstime.com/blue-wildebeest-side-view-africa-nationalpark-blue-wildebeest-connochaetes-taurinus-male-standing-grassland-side-view-image171896171 and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/1562477650

In cooksoni, the case for a facial flag is ambivalent. The cheeks are pale but the dark on the beard and front of the face is not particularly crisply-defined.

cooksoni https://www.alamy.com/cooksons-wildebeest-a-subspecies-of-the-blue-wildebeest-native-to-the-south-luangwa-national-park-zambia-image332014206.html and https://eol.org/pages/4447139/media?resource_id=650 and https://photos.willbl.com/cooksons-wildebeest-2/ and second photo in https://www.wildandwonderful.org/wildebeest and https://www.jczinn.com/South%20Africa/Zambia%202017/South%20Luangwa/Tena%20Tena/slides/cooksons_wildebeest_JZ5_3291a.html

In johnstoni, some adult male individuals have a bold white bar across the rostrum. However, this seems insufficient to outweigh the fact that the dark front of the face is particularly narrow in this form.

johnstoni https://www.pbase.com/robbiehildred/image/159296779 and https://taxidermytrophiesforsale.com/product/wildebeest-nyasa-wildebeest-128/ and https://www.africahunting.com/media/hunting-nyasa-wildebeest-selous-tanzania.42599/

In summary, a facial flag is clear only in one form of wildebeest. This is albojubatus (see https://www.shutterstock.com/nb/image-photo/close-wildebeest-grazing-on-green-grass-1484131772 and https://www.123rf.com/photo_70436552_big-wildebeest-migration-in-african-safari-amboseli-national-park-in-kenia.html and https://www.shutterstock.com/nb/image-photo/couple-grazing-blue-wildebeests-1929907964), which is as pale as any form of wildebeest while retaining a wide and maximally dark front of the face.

Posted by milewski milewski, July 09, 2021 09:01

Comments

Although taurinus western form lacks a facial flag, certain individuals, seen in certain lights, give a hint of a facial flag: https://www.shutterstock.com/nb/image-photo/blue-wildebeest-walking-dry-grass-morning-1832858380.

Posted by milewski over 1 year ago (Flag)

The following of adult male albojubatus shows that in some individuals there can be pale brindling on the posterior part of the cheek even in this form of wildebeest: https://coolwallpapers.me/5431027-wildebeest-background.html.

Posted by milewski over 1 year ago (Flag)

According to Smithers and Tello (1976), one in every 50 individuals of Connochaete taurinus taurinus in Zinave National Park in southern Mozambique has the white bar on the rostrum.

Posted by milewski over 1 year ago (Flag)

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