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Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros)



Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros)
Order: Artiodactyla, Family: Bovidae

Greater kudus weigh between 265 and 700 pounds. The greater kudu is one of the tallest antelopes, with a shoulder height ranging from 3.3 feet to 5 feet. Greater kudus have the largest horns in the bushbuck tribe, averaging 4 feet in length. Body color varies from reddish brown to blue-gray, with the darkest individuals found in the southern populations. The color of the males darkens with age. Along its back, the kudu has six to 10 stripes. Its tail is black tipped with a white underside. Males possess a beard, which females lack.



I. DESCRIPTION:
  • Greater kudus weigh between 265 and 700 pounds.
  • The greater kudu is one of the tallest antelopes, with a shoulder height ranging from 3.3 feet to 5 feet.
  • Greater kudus have the largest horns in the bushbuck tribe, averaging 4 feet in length.
  • Body color varies from reddish brown to blue-gray, with the darkest individuals found in the southern populations. The color of the males darkens with age.
  • Along its back, the kudu has six to 10 stripes. Its tail is black tipped with a white underside. Males possess a beard, which females lack.
II. GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
  • Greater kudus are found in southern and eastern Africa. The population is the densest in the south.
  • In East Africa, the greater kudu population is broken up, and there are many isolated groups in the mountains.
  • Greater kudus are found in a variety of habitats throughout Africa. As long as they have good cover, greater kudus are able to survive in the settled areas of Africa.
  • Greater kudus can be found in habitats that provide bush and thicket cover.
  • During the rainy season, greater kudus remain in the deciduous woodlands. During the dry season, they can be found along riverbanks, where there is rich vegetation.
III. DIET:
  • Greater kudus are herbivores. They eat a wide variety of leaves, herbs, fruits, vines, flowers and some new grass.
  • They may water in the dry season but are capable of surviving in a waterless region.
IV. LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
  • Females and their offspring live in herds of one to three. There is no obvious hierarchical rank in these groups. Sometimes females combine to form larger groups, but such aggregations are temporary.
  • Males live in bachelor herds, which range in number from two to 10. It is unclear whether males have a distinct hierarchical rank in their groups.
  • Males and females have no contact with each other except during the mating season.
  • Passive animals by nature, greater kudus show patterns of aggression mainly in captivity. In the wild, fighting occurs only between kudus of the same size.
  • Greater kudus are seasonal breeders in southern Africa. At the equator, they calve in the rainy season, which is from February to June, and mate near or after the end of the rains.
  • Most females do not reach maturity until 3 years of age. Males mature at 5 years.
  • There is a nine-month gestation period, and calves are born when the grass is high. Calves remain hidden for two weeks before joining the herd.
  • Greater kudu calves are weaned at 6 months. Male calves remain in the maternity herd for one to one and a half or two years, while females remain longer.
V. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT:
  • In southern Africa, greater kudus have been hunted for many years.
  • Greater kudus are prey for several animals in Africa, including lions, leopards, wild dogs, and spotted hyenas.
VI. POPULATION STATUS:
  • No special status.
  • Greater kudus have been able to reclaim much of their southern habitat, which was threatened by increased human population. The northern population, however, has not been able to reclaim its territory and remain in sparse, isolated populations.



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