Duiker

The subfamily Cephalophinae contains two groups: the forest duikers, of which the bay duiker is one, and the bush duikers.

Bay Duiker

Cephalophus dorsalis

Range: Africa: Sierra Leone to E. Zaire and N. Angola

Habitat: Thick forest and jungle.

Size: Body: 27 1/2 in - 3 1/4 ft (70 cm - 1 m); Tail: 3 - 6 in (8 - 15 cm).

The bay duiker is typical of its group, with rather slender legs, a slightly hunched back and a smooth, glossy coat. Both male and female have small backwardpointing horns, which are sometimes obscured by the crest of hairs on the forehead. Duikers are timid and when disturbed dash for thick cover - the name duiker means “diving” buck. They are mainly active at night when they feed on grass, leaves and fruit, even scrambling up into bushes or on logs to reach them.

Bay duikers live singly or in pairs and produce 1 young after a gestation period of 7 to 8 months. The young is independent at about 3 months old.

Yellow Duiker

Cephalophus silvicultor

Range: Africa: Senegal to Kenya, Zambia, N. Angola.

Habitat Moist highland forest.

Size: Body: 3 3/4 - 4 3/4 ft (1.15 - 1.45 m); Tail: 4 1/4 - 8 in (11 - 20.5 cm).

Another forest duiker and the largest of its subfamily, the yellow duiker is remarkable for the well-developed crest of hairs on its forehead and for the yellowish-orange patch of coarse, erectile hairs that grow in a wedge shape on its back. Both sexes have long, thin sharp-pointed horns. The young loses its dark coloration at about 8 months.

Yellow duikers live in pairs or alone, keeping to thick cover. They are active at night. Their varied diet includes leaves, grass, herbs, berries, termites, snakes, eggs and carrion. They are hunted by man for meat and have many other enemies, including leopards, jackals, pythons and large birds of prey.

Common/Gray Duiker

Sylvicapra grimmia

Range: Africa, south of the Sahara.

Habitat: All types except desert and rain forest, up to 15,000 ft (4,600 m).

Size: Body: 31 1/2 in - 3 3/4 ft (80 cm - 1,15 m); Tail: 4 - 8 1/2 in (10 - 22 cm).

The common duiker, also known as the grey or bush duiker, is the only species of duiker to live in both grasslands and forests. It is found south of the Sahara Desert. Common duikers live anywhere that there is cover for them to hide during the day. They eat a wide range of foods, which vary depending on their location. In forests they eat fruits, flowers and leaves, but in more open areas they dig up roots with their hooves.

The common bush duiker has a straighter back and thicker, grizzled coat than the forest duiker. The crest is quite well developed. The male has sharp horns, which the female does not always have. Common duikers can survive in almost any habitat from scrub country to open grassland. The male establishes a fiercely defended territory. At night they browse on leaves and twigs, (standing on their hind legs to reach them) and also eat fruit, berries, termites, snakes, eggs and guineafowl chicks.

Usually found alone or in pairs, they may form small groups in the breeding season, which varies throughout the range and appears to be linked to the rains. The female produces 1 young after a gestation of 4 to 4 1/2 months; normally 2 young are born each year.

Blue duiker

Cephalophus monticola

Size: 72 cm (28.25 in); 10 kg (22 lb).

This small antelope lives across Central Africa. It is the smallest of the duikers, which are all much smaller than the grassland antelopes. The blue duiker is a forest animal. Being small helps it move through undergrowth. Both sexes have horns, although these are little more than short spikes. Blue duikers eat mainly fruits, shoots and buds, but also consume insects, snails and eggs. They live in breeding pairs that stay together for years. Blue duikers live for about 10 years.

Zebra duiker

Cephalophus zebra

Size: 90 cm (35.5 in); 20 kg (44 lb).

This species of duiker, named after the black stripes running across its back, lives in the forests of West Africa. When not raising their young, zebra duikers live alone. They eat fruits and leaves. Most of the best food is located high in the branches and out of reach of the little antelopes. Zebra duikers survive on the leftovers of monkeys and other tree-living foragers who dislodge and drop food on to the ground.

 

Gallery of Duiker