REEDBUCK - Redunca arundinum
SIZE: Shoulder height (m) 0,9 m, (f) 0,8 m; mass
(m) 80 kg, (f) 68 kg. Only males have forward-curving
COLOUR: Dull greyish-brown to dark brown. Underside,
including underside of the bushy brown tail, is whitish,
and there are pale patches on the throat, face and
around the eyes. Below each ear there is usually a
small, round blackish bare patch. The front surface
of each foreleg has a vertical black or dark brown
GESTATION PERIOD: 7.5 - 8 months
POTENTIAL LONGEVITY: 9 years
RECORD LENGTH OF HORNS: 46 cm
MOST LIKE: The Mountain Reedbuck, but larger and with
longer horns. Mountain reedbuck lack the blackish
or dark brown foreleg stripes.
HABITAT: Tall grass or reeds near water.
Reedbuck usually live in pairs or family parties, although
temporary aggregations of 15 - 20 individuals are sometimes
seen during the very dry months. They are almost entirely
grazers. Veld fires often sound the death knell for this
elegant antelope. Deprived of its natural camouflage, it
often doesn't have the ability to outrun its enemies, and
is easily brought down by leopards, cheetah and wild dogs.
A single calf, born at any time of year, is hidden by its
mother for two to three months; she returns once a day to
suckle it. Similarly to many other antelope, the calf re-hides
itself after its mother has left to prevent scent-trailing
by predators. The mother-calf bond breaks down when the
mother is due to calve again, but if she loses the new calf,
the bond may be re-established.
The Reedbuck is a graceful, whistling antelope of the grasslands,
and particularly of the thickly grown patches of reed and
vleis near rivers, which has earned them their name.
| They are closely related to the
mountain reedbuck, although the reedbuck prefers grassland to
the mountainous habitat of its relative. Reedbuck tend to use
fixed trails that lead to water, and always approach water very
cautiously, the cows hanging back as sentries, while the males
and young drink first. This natural caution is also apparent
while they are resting: reedbuck don't lie close together, but
spread out, their faces turned cautiously outwards in the direction
of any possible danger.
Its tawny coat acts as a perfect camouflage among the reeds
and long grass, and its ability to 'freeze' when it senses danger
often helps it escape the attentions of predators. The reedbuck
flatten their ears to minimise their profile especially when
their habitat has been burnt and therefore have very little
vegetative cover. Once discovered, however, they jump up in
alarm, uttering a loud, sharp whistle through their nostrils,
and bound away with the same rocking horse motion used by the
grey rhebok, showing the white underside of their tails.
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