Skip to Main Content
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance logo
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library logo

Nubian Ibex (Capra nubiana) Fact Sheet: Summary

Nubian Ibex (Capra nubiana) Fact Sheet

male ibex

Nubian Ibex (Capra nubiana)

Image credit: © Elanna from Flickr. Some rights reserved.


Taxonomy Physical Characteristics

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Artiodactyla (Cetartiodactyla)

Family: Bovidae

Genus: Capra

Species: Capra nubiana* - Nubian ibex

* Treated by some taxonomists as a subspecies of Capra ibex (C. i. nubiana)

Body Weight
Male: 42.0-85.0 kg (92.6-187.4 lb)
Female: 25.0-39.5 kg (55.1-87.1 lb)

Body Length
Male: 1190-1590 mm (46.9-62.6 in)
Female: 920-1210 mm (36.2-47.6 in)

Tail Length
Male: 80-170 mm (3.1-6.7 in)
Female: 65-160 mm (2.6-6.3 in)

Pelage: Tan to grayish body hair; belly and buttocks white. Legs distinctively marked with black and white.

Distribution & Status Behavior & Ecology

Range: Portions of northeastern Africa and the Arabian peninsula.

Habitat: Desert mountains. Steep, rocky slopes provide vital routes for escaping predators. 

IUCN Status: Vulnerable (2020 assessment)

CITES: Not listed

Population in Wild: No systematic surveys; fewer than 2,500 mature individuals, according to one rough estimate.

Locomotion: Walk, run, jump, and climb. Agile—able to navigate steep cliffs. Leap to scale sheer canyon walls.

Activity Cycle: Active during the day. Browse throughout the day while temperatures permit. Scale canyon walls to rest during the day and sleep at night.

Social Groups: Social. Live in small groups—typically of multiple females, infants, juveniles, and young adults. 

Diet: Consume grasses, forbes, and shrubs. 

Predators: Leopard (Panthera pardus), gray wolf (Canis lupus), and striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena).

Reproduction & Development Species Highlights

Sexual Maturity: Females mature at about 2 years of age; males at significantly older ages due to social constraints. 

Gestation: 150-163 days [combined estimates from wild and managed care settings]

Litter Size: 1-3 young; 1 typical, though twins are not uncommon.

Birth Weight: 1.5-3.0 kg (3.3-6.6 lb)

Age at Weaning: Begin solid food by 2-4 weeks of age; weaning complete by c. 6 months.

Typical Life Expectancy: 
Managed care: median life expectancy of about 9 years

Feature Facts

  • Characterized by their prominent, unbranched, and strongly recurved horns.
  • Active in daylight when they browse and graze for grasses, forbes, and shrubs.
  • Often form groups, whose structure and composition is variable.  
  • During the seasonal rut, male groups break up and individuals compete, in violent clashes, to mate with females.

About This Fact Sheet

© 2015 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

How to cite: Nubian Ibex (Capra nubiana) Fact Sheet. c2015. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. nubian_ibex.
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2018 Dec 31)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to

SDZWA Library Links