Oribis are widespread antelopes, but despite their large distribution their populations are highly fragmented. The species is found in most parts of Africa south of the Sahara Desert except for the equatorial rainforests. Oribis live in flat areas of grasslands with a few bushes to provide food and cover. Today oribis are unlikely to survive in large numbers outside nature reserves.
The oribi is small and graceful, with a long neck and slender legs, longer behind than in front. The silky coat has a sleek, rippled look, and the black-tipped tail is conspicuous when the animal runs. Below each large, oval ear there is a patch of bare skin that appears as a black spot. The female has no horns.
Oribis have large preorbital f glands (modified tear ducts that produce scented liquids). The black glands form a teardrop-shaped mark below each eye. These antelopes also have tufts of long hair on their knees.
The oribi is grouped in the dwarf antelope tribe. Along with its relatives, this species forms monogamous pairs, where a male and a female will mate for life. Occasionally, several individuals, including any young, gather into small herds. Females are smaller than males and achieve adult size as early as 10 months old. Males will take a few months longer to mature. Pairs mark their territories together, but the males have the dominant role. They rub secretions from the prominent preorbital gland on to landmarks such as tree trunks or stands of tall grass.
They are active early and later in the day and on moonlit nights, when they feed on grass, plants and leaves. During the day and when danger threatens, they lie quietly in long grass or by a bush or rock.
The female gives birth to 1 young after a gestation period of between 6 1/2 and 7 months.
Distribution: Africa: Sierra Leone to Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa.
Habitat: Wide, grassy plains with low bush, near water.
Food: Grass and leaves.
Size: 92 - 110 cm (3 - 3.5 ft); 12 - 24 kg (26.5 - 53 lb).
Maturity: 1 year.
Breeding: Most calves born in October or November.
Life span: 13 years.
Status: Lower risk.