Natural Histories

Spanish Ibex standing on a stone cliff

Spanish Ibex

Capra pyrenaica


Spanish ibex are have a shoulder height of 65-75 cm and brown or gray in color. This species typically weights 35-80 kg. Both males and females of Spanish ibex have horns, the horns of males are much larger (75cm more and curve back over their heads) than those of the females.


This species is found in the Carzorla-Segura and Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain ranges on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain. The Spanish ibex prefer mountainous terrain over 800 meters above sea level. They typically live in forested areas with rock outcroppings, coniferous trees, and deciduous trees. Forests with multiple strata in the canopy are especially preferred by the Spanish ibex because the lower canopy provides shade cover for the ibex to escape the mid-day heat.

Feeding Behavior and Diet

Spanish ibex are browsing herbivores, browsing on Holm oak, forbs, grasses and acorns. This species consumes mostly Holm oak but their diet in the spring and early summer greatly consists of forbs and grasses.


The breeding season for this species is called rut. The Spanish ibex breed from November- December with a breeding peak in the first half of December. Males compete for females by head butting. Females produce 1-2 young 161-168 days after mating, usually during mid-May. Male Spanish ibex reach sexual maturity after three years while females reach sexual maturity after 1.5 years.

Months and Times of Activity

Groups of females with young are segregated from regular herds during most of the year. In these groups, the young travel within the center of adult females groups for protection. In the fall adult female Spanish ibex herd with adult males, while juveniles are segregated into a mixed sex herd. There is a strict hierarchy within the males of the adult herd, with only one dominant male that is permitted to breed.

Special Features, Stories, Relationships

•    Adult Spanish ibex have no natural predators but young are preyed upon by eagles and foxes.
•    Spanish ibex give an alarm whistle when they detect danger to alarm the herd to flee in columns led by adults.
•    To read legends featuring this animal go to
•    Children’s book featuring this animal: IBEX by Planet Collection


 Blaha, D. 2003. "Capra pyrenaica" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed November 04, 2014 at