The elusive bushbuck
with its striped back and spotted flanks are one of the prettier antelope, but being
solitary and preferring to inhabit areas of dense cover, they are not seen very often and
if one does, they scurry away quickly. They browse on foliage and fruit and sometimes
remain for hours beneath certain flowering trees, especially the sausage tree (Kigelia
Three kinds of duiker occur
in Zambia. The Yellow backed Duiker is the largest of the three with backward directed
horns in line with their nose profile. A dark brown coat with a conspicuous yellow patch
on the lower back and rump, the hairs upon which rise when alarmed. The move alone in
dense thickets and
forests. This antelope is very rarely seen as it is mainly nocturnal.
The Blue Duiker also has backward pointing horns but is much smaller and greyish brown in
colour. They browse on leaves and small fruit and are also rarely seen. The Common Duiker
is usually seen on the move in the early morning or evening in scrub country or in
woodland. It hides during the heat of the day in patches of thick vegetation. It has a
very characteristic way of running in a zig zag fashion interspersed by plunging leaps.
Eland are graceful animals, with their
large pendulous dewlap and pale fawn colour. The largest of the antelope found in Zambia,
the eland can weigh up to 680 kg. Their weight however, does not hamper them from jumping,
virtually from a standing position to a height of more than two meters (7 ft). Both sexes
have horns in a short outward an upward twist, which are important for feeding. To collect
twigs they grasp them between the stalks, breaking them loose with a shake of their head
and powerful neck. A shy animal that runs at the slightest disturbance. This is perhaps
because they have always been hunted in Africa, especially by the San tribe, who
worshipped them, eating them as catholics do communion. They move in medium sized herds
and old bulls tend to be solitary.
The most numerous animal in the bigger
National Parks, impalas are gregarious moving in large herds. They are mixed feeders and
eat mainly grass in the wet season and leaves as the dry season progresses. They can also
be found eating the fallen red fleshly flowers of the sausage tree. During the rutting
period the males are very noisy emitting loud grunting sounds whilst they fight and
display, in the process of sorting out their hierarchy, terminating in the dominant male
taking over a harem of twenty or more ewes. They have a well defined lambing season
starting at the end of October and in the following weeks, nearly every ewe is seen with a
baby. Impala have an unusual tuft of black hair covering a scent gland on the hind legs,
above the hooves. To escape their pursuers they employ a confusing, zig zag escape route,
with sudden directional changes and exceptionally high leaps making it difficult for the
pursuing attacker to strike.
Living on rocky outcrops and on mountan
sides, these small antelope with short pointy horns occur sparsely in the Muchinga
escarpment of the Luangwa Valley and occasionally in the north of the country. It bounces on the tips
of its rubbery hooves as it walks, making its very long legs look even longer.
Unlike the coat of other African antelope, their olive-yellow coat speckled with grey is
stiff and brittle serving as a cushion to ward off the shocks of hitting rock walls as
they jump. They browse on herbs and shrubs and drink water when it is available but can
draw enough water from their food.
A very beautiful antelope with long
twisting spiralled horns displayed by the males. They are usually seen in small
occasionally males can be solitary or in bachelor parties. They are purely browsers and
not known to eat grass, being very fond of the evergreen Trichelia emetica and
where these trees occur, there is a very distinct browse line as if
theyve been pruned by clippers. Despite their impressive weight they can easily
clear 2 meters (7ft) when jumping. Their acute hearing is accentuated by an ability to
turn their large rounded ears in almost any direction.
Found in the northern parts of the country
in small numbers, this light fawn coloured antelope prefers miombo woodland habitats and
feeds exclusively on grass. It can sometimes be seen on the floodplains towards the end of
the dry season seeking new pastures
A semi-aquatic antelope often moving in
very large herds of several hundred. They graze knee deep on the flood plain
have long thin horns going backwards and upwards. There are three kinds of lechwe are
found in Zambia.
The Black Lechwe is the darkest of the three, with a rich blackish brown
coat and is found only in the Bangweulu swamps.
The Kafue Lechwe has larger and longer horns than the other two
species with dark shoulder patches and a light brown coat. It is found in the floodplains
The Red Lechwe found in the Busanga area of
Kafue National Park is yellowish red in colour and
dark brown markings on the legs.
Found occasionally in the
Luangwa Valley, more often in the
swamps and quite common in
Lochinvar National Parks. They are distinguished
by the bare black glandular patches below their large oval shaped ears. They like to graze
on open plains and dambos and have a characteristic ‘stotting’ action
when alarmed, jumping into the air with all four
legs held stiff and straight. Some experts
believe this may be done to give them a better
view of approaching predators but it is more
likely they are trying to entice the predator to
chase and so divert attention from the
Valley, these furry orange antelope with
thick, heavily ringed V shaped horns, are gregarious and graze along the floodplains near
They have limited distribution in Africa,
confined to the area drained by the Zambezi and its tributaries and a few isolated pockets
They move in herds of up to thirty or so.
Kafue but scarce in the other parks, the
reedbuck is a
gregarious animal moving in family groups of three to five. They are found in dambos and
other open grassy areas. They have a characteristic rocking horse action ; the
tail is turned up to expose the white ventral surface, and they whistle at each jump
Luangwa but scarce in the other parks, roan are a large
light brown antelope with ringed horns, rising upwards and backwards in a small arch. They
move in herds but bulls may be solitary, staying near dambos, light woodland and open
The most handsome of the antelopes, with a
deep brown coat and long backward arching horns. Adult males have a deep glossy black coat
and with the pronounced curve of their long horns are a very striking animals. They are
fairly common in Kafue but scarce in the other parks.
A tiny solitary antelope with short pointy
horns only 3-5cm long. It favours thickets and feeds on the leaves of low growing shrubs.
Not often seen due to its shy and nocturnal habits. Distinguished from the duiker of the
same size in that it runs smoothly not in zig zag, with body and head held low. Often seen
on night drives in the South Luangwa National Park.
This small antelope with straight upward
pointing horns and a lush rufous coat can be seen in light woodland where it browses and
grazes. It often eludes its predators by darting down old burrows.
A beautiful reddish brown animal with
pointing horns, faint white strips on the back and white spots on the
flanks and cheeks.
A true aquatic antelope found only in swamp
grasses having specially adapted long pointy hooves to support them on marshy soil.
Found in the Busanga area of
Kafue National Park, the floodplains of
The fastest of the antelope, Tsessebe are
found only in the Bangweulu swamp region.
These rare antelope have a smooth reddish brown coat with a light fawn belly and a
tasselled tail. They graze on open plains.
The waterbuck has a
long-haired, often shaggy brown-gray coat that emits a smelly, greasy
secretion thought to be for waterproofing. They have pronounced U shape horns.
Two subspecies of waterbuck occur in
Zambia. In the Luangwa and Lower Zambezi Vallies they are distinguished by the white ring on their rump (Kobus
ellipsiprymnus) whereas those in the
have a solid white patch on the rump.(Kobus defassa).
move in fairly big herds near dambos and on aquatic grassland but always close to woodland
or thicket. Hyenas, lions, and leopards are the major
predators, but crocodiles, hunting dogs and cheetahs also take
Cooksons Wildebeest occurs in the
northern part of Luangwa
Valley and the Blue Wildebeest in the Western Province.
In November every year, enormous
herds migrate across the Luiwa plains.
young are born a reddish-brown and can stand within minutes of birth. They take on their
mature colour after two months. They move in large herds headed by one to three bulls that
trot around the group in their peculiar, head high, rocking gait, forcing the herd into a