Getting to Know the “Plain” Old Burchell’s Zebra

October 25, 2012
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The plains zebra or Burchell's zebra is one of Africa’s iconic species and the population size is generally accepted to be around a half a million animals. The plains zebra is found from Kenya southward to Botswana and west from there to Northern Namibia. The plains zebra in the south are somewhat different in that each black striped appears to be shadowed in the white. There is considerable variation amongst individuals but the most cleanly striped of the plains zebra are found in Kenya and Tanzania.

Plains zebra are found in family groups with a stallion and a few mares with their fouls. Often multiple family groups will join together to form a much larger herd, but these typically do not remain together for very long. In addition, some zebra do the circular migration of the Serengeti System with many thousands of wildebeest but there are others that remain as residents within the same region. One thing that does appear to be important for zebra is access to daily drinking water.

The call of the zebra is one of the most frequently heard sounds of East Africa, and it’s not uncommon during International Expeditions’ safaris that guests take some time to learn the call. It is more like a bark than any other horse sound you may be familiar with. Zebra are basically grazers and they are frequently preyed upon by lions and hyenas. One of my favorite observations while on safari is, through binoculars, the attractive face of a zebra. The long eye lashes, black nose and gorgeous facial stripes are one of the loveliest sights in Africa.
 


Naturalist Greg Greer is a favorite among IE travelers, and has gained a reputation for his friendliness and good humor, along with his incomparable knowledge of natural history, photos and articles have been widely published in books and magazines, including Georgia Outdoor News, Bird Watcher’s Digest, Alabama Outdoor News, Riversedge and Southern Wildlife.