Yellow-Backed Duiker

The name of these antelopes originates from the way they vanish into undergrowth when alarmed. Duiker, pronounced dike-er, is the Afrikaans word for ‘diver’.


Yellow-backed duikers inhabit dense forest. Pairs usually share a territory, and both sexes may actively fight to defend it. Nocturnal by nature, these antelopes have set places where they rest during the day, usually well-hidden in undergrowth. If frightened, they will erect their yellow crest and utter a warning whistle. They are adept at disappearing into the bush, making them difficult to pursue, although they may be ambushed by predators such as pythons.


Habitat: Occurs in suitable habitat in western and central parts of Africa, from Senegal to the Congo, and south to Zambia, with an isolated population in Kenya.

Weight: 45 - 80 kg (100 - 175 lb).

Length: 126 - 165 cm (50 - 65 in), including tail.

Maturity: Females 9 months - 1 year; males 1 - 1.5 years.

Gestation Period: About 217 days; young are weaned by about 5 months.

Number of Offspring: 1, occasionally 2.

Diet: Herbivorous, grazing on grass, browsing on taller plants, eating fruit, seeds and fungi.

Lifespan: Typically 10 - 12 years.


Present in both sexes, the horns are narrow and pointed, growing to about 20cm (8in) long.


Adults are mainly brownish-black, with a vivid whitish-orange area of hair that can be raised on the back.


Legs are relatively slender, especially compared with the stocky body.

Facial glands

These glands are used by both sexes to scent-mark their territory.


Young are lighter in colour than adults, and the distinctive yellow patch does not develop until they are five months old.