The common eland also known as the southern eland, is a savannah and plains antelope found in East and Southern Africa. An adult male is around 1.6 metres tall at the shoulder (females are 20 centimetres shorter) and can weigh up to 942 kg with an average of 500–600 kilograms. It is the second largest antelope in the world, being slightly smaller on average than the giant eland. Mainly an herbivore, its diet is primarily grasses and leaves. Common elands form herds of up to 500 animals, but are not territorial. The common eland prefers habitats with a wide variety of flowering plants such as savannah, woodlands, and open and montane grasslands; it avoids dense forests. It uses loud barks, visual and postural movements and the flehmen response to communicate and warn others of danger. The common eland provides leather and rich, nutritious milk, and has been domesticated in many areas.
The greater kudu is a woodland antelope found throughout eastern and southern Africa. Despite occupying such widespread territory, they are sparsely populated in most areas, due to a declining habitat, deforestation and poaching. Greater kudus have a narrow body with long legs, and their coats can range from brown/bluish-grey to reddish-brown. They possess between 4–12 vertical white stripes along their torso. The head tends to be darker in colour than the rest of the body, and exhibits a small white chevron which runs between the eyes. Male greater kudus tend to be much larger than the females, and vocalize much more, utilizing low grunts, clucks, humming, and gasping. The males also have large manes running along their throats, and large horns with two and a half twists, which, were they to be straightened, would reach an average length of 120 cm. This is one of the largest species of antelope. Males weigh 190–270 kg with a maximum of 315 kg, and stand up to 160 cm tall at the shoulder.
The gemsbok or gemsbuck (Oryx gazella) is a large antelope in the Oryx genus. It is native to the arid regions of Southern Africa, such as the Kalahari Desert.
Gemsbok are light brownish-grey to tan in colour, with lighter patches toward the bottom rear of the rump. Their tails are long and black in colour. A blackish stripe extends from the chin down the lower edge of the neck, through the juncture of the shoulder and leg along the lower flank of each side to the blackish section of the rear leg. They have muscular necks and shoulders, and their legs have white ‘socks’ with a black patch on the front of both the front legs, and both genders have long, straight horns. They stand about 1.2 m at the shoulder. The body length can vary from 190 to 240 cm and the tail measures 45 to 90 cm. Male gemsbok can weigh between 220 and 300 kg, while females weigh 100–210 kg.
The blue wildebeest, also called the common wildebeest or the white-bearded wildebeest, is a large antelope and one of two species of wildebeest. Males can grow to a 145 cm shoulder height and attain a body mass of over 275 kg. They range the open plains, bushveld, and dry woodlands of Southern and East Africa, living for more than 20 years. The name “blue wildebeest” derives from a conspicuous silvery-blue sheen to its short-haired hide, differentiating this species from the plainer black wildebeest. Probably the most conspicuous feature of the blue wildebeest are the large horns shaped like parentheses, extending outward to the side and then curving up and inward. In the male, the horns can attain a total span of almost 90 cm, while the females’ horn width is about half the size of the males’. It is one of the largest species of antelope.
The red hartebeest is a species of even-toed ungulate in the Bovidae family found in Southern Africa. More than 130,000 individuals are left. The red hartebeest is closely related to the tsessebe and the topi. Commonly known as the red hartebeest, it is the most colorful hartbeest, with black markings contrasting against its white abdomen and behind. It has a longer face that other subspecies, with complex curving horns joined at the base. The average weight of a male is about 150 kg, and female is 120 kg. Their average shoulder height is 135 cm, and horns are 60 cm long. Hartebeests have an excellent sense of hearing and smell, although their sense of sight is poor. When alarmed, hartebeests elude confusion before running, by which they can reach a maximum speed of 55 km/hr. Their evasion tactic is to run in a zigzag pattern, making it difficult for predators to catch them.
Adult Tsessebe are 150 to 230 cm in height. They are quite large animals, with males weighing 137 kg and females weighing 120 kg, on average. Their horns range from 37 cm for females to 40 cm for males. For males, horn size plays an important role in territory defense and mate attraction, although horn size is not positively correlated with territorial factors of mate selection. Their bodies are chestnut brown. The fronts of their faces and their tail tufts are black; the forelimbs and thigh are greyish or bluish-black. Their hindlimbs are brownish-yellow to yellow and their bellies are white. In the wild, tsessebe usually live a maximum of 15 years, but in some areas, their average lifespan is drastically decreased due to overhunting and the destruction of habitat.
The blesbok or blesbuck is an antelope endemic to South Africa. It has a distinctive white face and forehead which inspired the name, because bles is the Afrikaans word for a blaze such as one might see on the forehead of a horse. Their mass can be as much as 85 kg. A characteristic of the blesbok is the prominent white blaze on the face and a horizontal brown strip which divides this blaze above the eyes. Body colour is brown with a lighter-coloured saddle on the back, and the rump an even lighter shade. The legs are brown with a white patch behind the top part of the front legs. Lower legs whitish. Both sexes carry horns, ringed almost to the tip. Female horns are slightly more slender. The neck and the top of the back of the blesbok is brown. Lower down on the flanks and buttocks, the coloring becomes darker. The belly, the inside of the buttocks and the area up to the base of the tail is white. Male adult blesbok average around 70 kg; females average lower, at around 61 kg.
Lechwe stand 90 to 100 cm (35 to 39 in) at the shoulder and weigh from 70 to 120 kg (150 to 260 lb). They are golden brown with white bellies. Males are darker in colour, but general hue varies depending on subspecies. The long, spiral-structured horns are vaguely lyre-shaped, they are found only in males. The hindlegs are somewhat longer in proportion than in other antelopes, to ease long-distance running in marshy soil. Lechwe are found in marshy areas where they eat aquatic plants.
The mountain reedbuck is an antelope found in mountainous areas of much of sub-Saharan Africa. The mountain reedbuck averages 75 cm at the shoulder, and weighs around 30 kg. It has a grey coat with a white underbelly and reddish-brown head and shoulders. The male has ridged horns of around 35 cm, which curve forwards. The mountain reedbuck lives in thick mountainous forest, where it eats grasses and leaves. It forms herds of around five individuals, including a single mature male. Adolescent males are forced out of their herds and form small bachelor herds. In the dry season, the mountain reedbuck sometimes forms herds of up to 30 individuals. They are diurnal, but inactive during the heat of the day.
The impala is a medium-sized African antelope. Its height ranges between 75 and 95 cm and it weighs between 40 and 60 kg. The coat is short and glossy, normally reddish-brown in colour (hence the Afrikaans name rooibok, not to be confused with rhebok). It has lighter flanks and a white underbelly with a characteristic “M” marking on the rear. The impala is sexually dimorphic. The male (ram) has lyre-shaped horns which can reach up to 45–92 cm in length whereas the female (ewe) lacks horns. Both have distinctive black and white stripes running down the rump and tail. The impala has scent glands covered in the fur of the back feet and sebaceous glands on the head.
The springbok is a medium-sized brown and white antelope-gazelle of southwestern Africa. It is extremely fast and can reach speeds of 100 km/h and can leap 4 m through the air. The common name “springbok” comes from the Afrikaans and Dutch words spring = jump and bok = male antelope or goat. Springboks are slender, long-necked antelopes, with a total length of 150 to 195 cm, and horns present in both sexes. Adults are between 70 and 90 cm tall at the shoulder, depending on weight and gender; they weigh between 30 and 44 kg for the females and 33 and 48 kg for the males. Their colouring consists of a pattern of white, reddish/tan and dark brown. Their backs are tan-coloured and they are white beneath, with a dark brown stripe extending along each side from the shoulder to inside the thigh. The face is white in adults, with a dark patch on the forehead, and a stripe running from just above the eyes to the corner of the mouth. The hooves and horns are black, and the tail is white with a black tuft at the tip
The bushbuck is the most widespread antelope in Sub-Saharan Africa, and is found in rain forests, montane forests, forest-savanna mosaics and bush savannaforest and woodland. Recently, genetic studies have shown that the bushbuck, is in fact a complex of two geographically and phenotypically distinct species. The most compelling evidence for the division of the bushbuck into the kéwel (Tragelaphus scriptus) and the imbabala (Tragelaphus sylvaticus) is that both species are more closely related to other members of the tragelaphine family (the imbabala to the bongo and the sitatunga, and the kéwel to the nyala) than to each other. The bushbuck bull is regarded by sports hunters as the most dangerous medium-size antelope, as it will hide in the bush after being wounded and charge the hunter when he comes looking for it, impaling the hunter with its sharp horns.
The waterbuck is a large antelope found widely in sub-Saharan Africa. Waterbuck stand 120 to 136 cm at the shoulder. Head-and-body length ranges from 140 to 240 cm and tail length from 10 to 45 cm. Males weigh 200–300 kg and females 160–200 kg. Their coats are reddish brown in colour and become progressively darker with age; they have a white ‘bib’ under their throats and white on their rumps. The waterproofing secretions of the waterbuck’s sweat glands produce an unpleasant odor in its meat, unless the animal is skinned carefully. According to African myth, the meat of the waterbuck is not edible, but this is untrue; whilst not especially tasty, waterbuck venison is safe to eat. The long, spiral-structured horns, found only in males, sweep back and up.
The black wildebeest or white-tailed gnu is one of two wildebeest species. These are members of the cattle family and form herds on grassy plains.
The black wildebeest has a dark brown or black coat which is slightly paler in summer and coarser and shaggier in the winter. It has a bushy mane that sticks up from the back of its neck. The hairs which compose this are white or cream-coloured with dark tips. On its muzzle and under its jaw it has black bristly hair. It also has long, dark-coloured hair between its forelegs and under its belly. Its long tail is greyish-white with a black base and reaches nearly to the ground. It has a pair of stout horns which are broad and close together at the base, sweep forward in a curve and rise to sharp tips. It has scent glands in front of its eyes, under its hair tufts and on its forefeet. Males are larger than females. The adult weight is about 110 to 157 kilograms and its height about 2 metres.
The plains zebra, also known as the common zebra or Burchell’s zebra, is the most common and geographically widespread species of zebra. The plains zebra remains common in game reserves, but is threatened by human activities such as hunting for its meat and hide, as well as competition with livestock and encroachment by farming on much of its habitat. The plains zebra is mid-sized, smaller on average than the other two zebra species, and thick bodied with relatively short legs. There is some variation in size, based on the animals’ condition and subspecies. Adults of both sexes can stand from 1.1 to 1.47 m high at the withers (shoulder), are 2 to 2.5 m long, not counting a 50 cm tail, and weigh 175 to 387 kg.
The nyala, also called inyala, is a spiral-horned antelope native to southern Africa. The body length is 135–195 cm, and it weighs 55–140 kg. The coat is rusty or rufous brown in females and juveniles, but grows a dark brown or slate grey, often tinged with blue, in adult males. Females and young males have ten or more white stripes on their sides. Only males have horns, 60–83 cm long and yellow-tipped. It exhibits the highest sexual dimorphism among the spiral-horned antelopes. The nyala is mainly active in the early morning and the late afternoon. It generally browses during the day if temperatures are 20–30 °C and during the night in rainy season. As a herbivore, the nyala feeds upon foliage, fruits and grasses, with sufficient fresh water. A shy animal, it prefers water holes rather than open spaces. Old males live alone, but single sex or mixed family groups of up to 10 individuals can be found.
The Bontebok is a tall, medium-sized antelope. They typically stand 80 to 100 cm (31 to 39 in) high at the shoulder and measure 120 to 210 cm (47 to 83 in) along the head and body. The tail can range from 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 in). Body mass can vary from 50 to 155 kg (110 to 342 lb). Males are slightly larger and noticeably heavier than females. The bontebok is a chocolate brown colour, with a white underside and a white stripe from the forehead to the tip of the nose, although there is a brown stripe across the white near the eyes in most blesbok. The bontebok also has a distinctive white patch around its tail (whence the Latin name), while this patch is light brown/tan in blesbok. The horns of bontebok are lyre-shaped and clearly ringed.
The southern reedbuck, rietbok or common reedbuck is a diurnal antelope typically found in southern Africa. This antelope has an average mass of 58 kg and a body length of about 134–167 cm. It has distinctive dark lines running down the front of each of its forelegs and lower hindlegs and whitish rings around the eyes. It has a lifespan of 10 years. The coat is silky and almost woolly. The color of its coat ranges between light- and greyish-brown, and may be lighter on the neck and chest. A small, black, bare glandular patch can be noticed at the base of each ear. White fur covers the underparts and the areas near the lips and chin. The tail is white underside, and appears short and bushy. Southern reedbucks measure an average of 85 cm at the shoulder. Females lack horns. Males bear forward-curving horns, about 35–45 cm long, with the base having a distinct band of pale, rubbery tissue.
The grey rhebok or grey rhebuck, locally known as the Vaal rhebok or Vaalribbok in Afrikaans, is a species of antelope endemic to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland. They inhabit grassy, montane habitats, and carry a woolly grey coat to insulate them from the cold. Only the males carry the straight horns. Males become extremely aggressive during the breeding season. The Afrikaans/Dutch spelling, reebok, is responsible for the name of the British sportswear manufacturing company Reebok.
Typical Springbok. Springboks are slender, long-necked antelopes, with a total length of 150 to 195 cm (59 to 77 in), and horns present in both sexes. Adults are between 70 and 90 cm (28 and 35 in) tall at the shoulder, depending on weight and gender; they weigh between 30 and 44 kg (66 and 97 lb) for the females and 33 and 48 kg (73 and 106 lb) for the males. The tail is 15 to 30 centimetres (5.9 to 11.8 in) long.
Their colouring consists of a pattern of white, reddish/tan and dark brown. Their backs are tan-coloured and they are white beneath, with a dark brown stripe extending along each side from the shoulder to inside the thigh. The face is white in adults, with a dark patch on the forehead, and a stripe running from just above the eyes to the corner of the mouth. The hooves and horns are black, and the tail is white with a black tuft at the tip
The warthog is a wild member of the pig family (Suidae) found in grassland, savanna, and woodland in sub-Saharan Africa. The common name comes from the four large, wart-like protrusions found on the head of the warthog, which serve as a fat reserve and are used for defense when males fight. Afrikaans-speaking people call the animal vlakvark, meaning “pig of the plains”. The warthog is medium-sized species; their head-and-body lengths range from 0.9 to 1.5 m and shoulder height is from 63.5 to 85 cm. Females, at 45 to 75 kg, are typically a bit smaller and lighter in weight than males, at 60 to 150 kg. The tusks are used for digging, for combat with other hogs, and in defense against predators – the lower set can inflict severe wounds.
Common Duiker/Grey or Bush duiker
The common duiker, also known as the grey or bush duiker, is a small antelope with small horns found in west, central, east, and southern Africa. Generally, they are found in habitats with sufficient vegetation cover to allow them to hide; savanna and hilly areas, including the fringes of human settlements. Colouration of this species varies widely over its vast geographic range. As many as 19 subspecies are thought to exist. It grows to about 50 cm in height and generally weighs 12 to 25 kg; although females are generally larger and heavier than the males. The males’ horns can grow to 11 cm long.
The blue duiker is a small, forest-dwelling duiker found in the Central Africa and southern South Africa. Blue duikers stand around 35 cm tall at the shoulder and weigh 4 kg.They are the smallest of the antelope family. The blue duiker has a brown coat with a slight blue tinge – hence the name – and a white underside. A glandular slit occurs beneath both eyes, with a very slight crest between the ears. There is an elongated, oval crown situated on the back of the neck between the shoulder line and the horns, about 2cm x 5cm. It has simple conical horns of 2 to 10 cm. Females do not always have horns, in both sexes horns may be poorly developed, less than 2cm long. The average lifespan is 10–12 years.
The black-backed jackal, also known as the silver-backed or red jackal, is a species of jackal which inhabits two areas of the African continent separated by roughly 900 km. One region includes the southernmost tip of the continent, including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. The other area is along the eastern coastline, including Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia. Black-backed jackals will occasionally hunt domestic animals, including dogs, cats, pigs, goats, sheep, and poultry, with sheep tending to predominate. They rarely target cattle, though cows giving birth may be attacked. Jackals can be a serious problem for sheep farmers, particularly during the lambing season.
The bushpig is a member of the pig family and lives in forests, woodland, riverine vegetation and reedbeds in East and Southern Africa. Adult bushpigs stand from 66 to 100 cm at the shoulder, and weigh from 55 to 150 kg. They resemble the domestic pig, and can be identified by their blunt, muscular snouts, small eyes, pointed, tufted ears and buckled toes. Their colour varies from reddish-brown to dark brown and becomes darker with age. Both sexes have a lighter-coloured mane which bristles when the animal becomes agitated. The upper parts of the face and ears are also lighter in colour. Their sharp tusks are fairly short and inconspicuous. Unlike warthogs, bushpigs run with their tails down. Males are normally larger than females.
The red forest duiker, Natal duiker, or Natal red duiker is a small antelope found in central to southern Africa. Red forest duikers are roughly 40 cm tall at the shoulder and weigh 15 kg on average. They have chestnut coats, with dark patches on their faces and backs of their necks. They eat fallen fruit, foliage, and insects. They are territorial, with mated pairs defending territory. Usually, a single fawn is produced each year, with gestation estimated between 4 and 7.5 months. Red forest duikers are on the IUCN red list of threatened species.
The Sharpe’s or northern grysbok (Raphicerus sharpei) is a small, shy, solitary antelope of south-eastern Africa—Transvaal (South Africa), Caprivi Strip (Namibia), Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania to Lake Victoria.
It is similar in size to the gray duiker, but has a stockier body and elongated fur over the hindquarters. It stands about 20″ (45–60 cm) at the shoulders and weighs only 7–11.5 kg. Its coat is reddish-brown which is streaked with white; eye-rings, around mouth, throat and underside are off-white. The males have stubby horns, which are widely spaced. Sharpe’s grysbok has a short deep muzzle with large mouth and heavy molar (grinding) teeth. The short neck and face on a long-legged body result in a high-rump posture when browsing.