Nubian Ibex

Nubian Ibex

Capra nubiana
Population size
below 5,000
Life Span
10-17 yrs
50 kg
65-75 cm
105-125 cm

The Nubian ibex is a desert-dwelling goat species found in mountainous areas of Africa and the Middle East. They are light tan in color, with a white underbelly; males also have a dark brown stripe down their backs. Nubian ibexes have long, thin horns that extend up and then backward and down. In males, these reach around 1 m in length, while in females they are much smaller, only around 30 cm (12 in).


Nubian ibexes are found in northern and northeast Africa, and the Middle East. Their range is within Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Israel, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen. These animals live in rough, dry, mountainous terrain with slopes and hills and can also be found in the canyons, plateaus, and wadis.

Nubian Ibex habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Nubian ibexes are social animals. They live in herds that usually consist of females, their young, and males up to the age of about three years. Adult males are solitary or form more transitory bands of up to 8 individuals. Nubian ibexes are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day and rest at night. They are agile climbers and have excellent vision, hearing, and sense of smell. During hot summer days when not foraging they cool themselves resting in the shaded areas or in shallow depressions in the ground. During cold winter days, herds will often shelter in caves and rock outcroppings to hide from the wind and the rain.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Nubian ibexes are herbivores (graminivores, folivores) and eat mainly grasses and leaves. They will also feed on various herbs, shrubs, buds, and even fruits.

Mating Habits

150-165 days
1-2 kids
doe, nanny
buck, billy
kid, billy

Nubian ibexes are polygynous, meaning that males mate with multiple females. During the breeding season, males join the female-based herds for the six- to eight-week rut. Large males then do battle for mating rights with much clashing of horns. After the gestation period of 150-165 days, between May and June females give birth to one, occasionally two young. For the first days after birth, the kids remain hidden and then join their mother. Females nurse their young daily until they are weaned at 3 months of age. Males become reproductively mature between 3 and 6 years of age while females are ready to breed when they are 2 years old.


Population threats

The major threats facing Nubian ibexes include competition with livestock for water and fodder, hunting pressure, pollution, and habitat destruction.

Population number

According to the IUCN Red List, the total Nubian ibex population size is less than 5,000 mature individuals. The estimated populations of the species occur in the following areas: two main populations in Egypt: 400-1,000 individuals in the Eastern Desert population and 200-250 individuals in the South Sinai population; Israel holds 800 individuals in the Judean Desert and 400 individuals in the Negev Desert Highlands; Oman holds 600-1,1000 individuals in the Dhofar region and 100-250 individuals exist in the Huqf escarpment and Janabi Hills, in and surrounding Al Wusta Wildlife Reserve. Currently, this species is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • Nubian ibexes are born with tiny horns that continue to grow through the rest of their life.
  • Nubian ibexes are very agile and hardy; they are able to climb on bare rock with ease which would be dangerous for other animals.
  • Nubian ibexes have strong hind legs which they use to defend themselves from predators.
  • Nubian ibex kids are born fully developed and are able to jump and run within a day after their birth.
  • Nubian ibexes and grackles have an interesting friendship. These birds are often seen on the backs of ibexes looking for any insects and they even often compete for “their” ibex.


1. Nubian Ibex on Wikipedia -
2. Nubian Ibex on The IUCN Red List site -

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