Nyalas are seldom far from water in habitats where there are stands of thick grass and other cover. Nyalas are spiral-horned antelopes, and are therefore more closely related to cattle and bison than the grazing antelopes and gazelles.

They are nocturnal browsers, eating fresh leaves and buds. They resort to eating grasses and other low-quality foods only during dry periods. These antelopes live in small herds of about 20 individuals. Females tend to stay in the same herds throughout their lives, while males are more transitory, forming small, temporary, male-only herds that move between groups of females.

There is a marked difference between male and female nyalas: females have the same colouring as the young (a red coat with thin stripes down the flanks) while males are larger and have a grey coat. Only males have horns.

Both adult males and females have a crest of hair running along the back. This is often white in the males. During courtship, males raise the crest. This often engenders fighting among the males, and deaths and serious injuries are not uncommon due to the antelope’s sharp horns.

Distribution: Africa: Malawi to South Africa: Natal.

Habitat: Damp areas of thick grasses.

Food: Leaves and grasses.

Size: 1.8 - 2.1 m (6 - 7 ft); 55 - 126 kg (121 - 278 lb).

Maturity: 2 - 4 years.

Life span: 15 years.

Status: Lower risk.

Mountain nyala

Size: 2.25 m (7.5 ft); 225 kg (496 lb)

Mountain nyalas are an endangered species. They live in the highlands of Ethiopia. During the intense rains that affect the region, the antelopes move to lower altitudes. Mountain nyalas are slightly larger than their lowland cousins. Both sexes have a grey coat, which grows shaggy during the winter.