Rufous brown to fawn coat with long, broad ears. Measures 520mm at the shoulders and weigh 11 Kg. Hind quarters and underparts are pure white. Only rams have upright, slender horns projecting above the eyes. Conspicuous black, facial glands are situated in front of the large, dark brown eyes. These pre-orbital glands are noticeable in both sexes.
This fleet footed antelope is exclusively a browser, and shows a preference for forbs. It is generally highly selective for green material such as young leaves, flowers, fruits and shoot tips of various plants. The ability to exist independently of free water is related to its selective browsing habits. Roots, tubers and bulbs are taken during dry months by raking the ground, and even digging shoulder-deep, to reach these nutritious food supplies which are high in moisture content.
Breeding season has not been clearly defined. All year round births have been recorded. They have a gestation period of about seven months, after which single lambs are born. Lambs are concealed for the first three to four months, during which time the mother only makes contact in the early morning and evening to feed and groom the infant. To conceal the infant’s presence, the mother eats her lamb’s faeces and drinks its urine during her visits, this keeps the hiding place relatively odour free and protected from predators.
Rams and ewes defend and share a territory. They are mainly solitary. Males will mark off their territories with urine and secretions from gland under the chin as well as using dung. They are the only bovid who scrape the ground before and after urination and defecation. The males are known to use roads and telephone lines as boundaries. They have excellent hearing. They have been known to scavenge meat from carcasses as well as kill the young of ground birds but this is due to severe shortages of food.
Inhabits open savannah country where they are reliant on adequate cover in the form of taller grass and clumps of bushes. Absent or rarely seen in forests, mountains, dense woodlands and rocky areas. At times they take refuge in ant-bear holes, and uses these to bear their young.
Where they are found
Probably the most abundant small antelope occurring in South Africa. Distributed widely throughout the country and considered a common species.
Leopard, Caracal, Wild Dog, Cheetah, Hyena, Python and the Martial Eagle.