What are the different kinds of antelopes that live in Angola?
There are an astounding number of separate antelope species found here! These remarkable creatures are very different from each other, each one being uniquely adapted to its specific habitat.
In this article, you’ll find interesting facts, photos, and even range maps so you can learn all about these incredible animals!
14 Antelopes Found in Angola:
- Aepyceros melampus
- Adults are 70–92 cm (28–36 in) tall at the shoulder.
- Males have thin, ridged, s-shaped horns that are 45–92 cm (18–36 in) tall.
- They have reddish-brown hair on the upper parts of their bodies, and the undersides of their bellies, chins, lips, inside ears, the line over the eye, and tails are white.
Look for these well-known antelopes in the grasslands and savannas of Angola.
While Impala are predominantly grazers, especially when the grass is lush and abundant, they switch to shrubs, trees, and other plants as needed. They’re ruminants, meaning that they have multi-chambered stomachs and regurgitate and chew their food, called cud, multiple times to get the most nutrients possible.
Impalas share their grassland and woodland habitats with many large, capable predators, so they have to stay alert and ready to make a quick escape! When they sense danger, Impalas leap in a random direction and then run quickly to startle their enemies.
They’re incredibly athletic and may jump up to 3.5 m (10 ft) in the air! To avoid being grabbed, Impalas often kick their back feet up as they land on just their front legs.
Calves are the most susceptible to predation, harsh weather conditions, and illness. Thankfully female Impalas have some incredible strategies to care for their young. For example, they’re able to delay giving birth for up to one month if weather conditions are harsh. They also typically give birth around mid-day when most predators are sleeping.
#2. Greater Kudu
- Tragelaphus strepsiceros
- Adults stand up to 160 cm (63 in) tall at the shoulder.
- Their coloring ranges from reddish-brown to blue-gray, with 6 to 10 stripes down their back and black-tipped tails with white undersides.
- Males have beards and large horns with two and a half twists that can grow as long as 120 cm (47 in).
This species is one of the biggest antelopes in Angola!
Greater Kudus are tall and large with impressive horns. These graceful creatures can clear obstacles up to 2.5 m (8 ft) tall with ease and run up to 100 kph (62 mph).
Greater Kudus are social and surprisingly vocal animals. You may hear them make whimpers, bleats, barks, grunts, and hums. The females stay together in groups of up to 25 with their offspring, and the males gather in small herds of 2-10. Males and females only come together to mate.
The map above shows the ranges of the different Greater Kudu subspecies.
The females give birth during the rainy season when the grass is high, which is essential for keeping the calves hidden from predators. For the first four weeks of their lives, the calves remain hidden before they can join the herd. During this time, their mother will only visit to nurse them to avoid attracting attention from predators.
You can find these incredible creatures in various habitats that provide them with brush and thick cover. Greater Kudus are opportunistic herbivores and consume grass, leaves, herbs, vines, fruits, and flowers.
#3. Southern Bushbuck
- Tragelaphus sylvaticus
- Adults average about 90 cm (35 in) at the shoulder.
- They are light brown with up to 7 white stripes on their backs, white splotches on their sides, and often some white on their ears, chins, tails, legs, necks, and muzzles.
- Males have horns with a single twist up to 0.5 m (1.64 ft) long.
Bushbucks are one of the least social antelopes in Angola. Unlike many of their relatives that move about in herds, Southern Bushbucks are solitary animals. However, they aren’t aggressive towards each other and will sometimes forage in close proximity.
While they are herbivores, Bushbucks rarely eat grasses. Instead, they feed on tree leaves, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. They live in a wide range of habitats, including woodlands, montane forests, rainforests, and savannas. Each individual has a home area, and they rarely leave it.
Bushbucks only come together to mate and then go their separate ways. Females hide their young and go to great lengths to keep them hidden. When they visit their calves, they go so far as to eat their dung to keep the scent from attracting predators.
#4. Blue Wildebeest
- Connochaetes taurinus
- Adults are 115–145 cm (45–57 in) tall at the shoulder, and both sexes have horns that can reach 83 cm (33 in) in males and 30–40 cm (12–16 in) in females.
- They have broad shoulders, broad muzzles, and cow-like horns.
- They are typically slate-colored with tan forelegs, dark vertical stripes on their shoulders and backs, and white or tan manes and beards.
These animals are the most unique-looking antelope in Angola!
Blue Wildebeests look more like a cow than an antelope, but their behavior is similar. They eat short grasses and live in various habitats. However, their favorite spots are moderately moist with rapidly regrowing grasses and a nearby water source.
Despite their shrinking population, Wildebeest herds are protective of their young. Females give birth in the middle of the day, allowing the calf time to get steady on its feet before most predators come out in the evening.
The map above shows the ranges of the different Blue Wildebeest subspecies.
While healthy adult Blue Wildebeests are perfectly capable of defending themselves, the calves are not. If the adults spot a potential predator, they will bunch together, stamp their feet, and issue loud, shrill alarm calls. The larger the herd, the more likely the calf will survive.
The calves closely follow the mothers for the first few months of their lives, and the pair can recognize each other by scent even if they get separated during large herd movements. Female Blue Wildebeests are fierce mothers. Researchers have found that mothers can often successfully ward off Cheetahs and individual hyenas that are after their calves.
Blue Wildebeest herds are famous for their historic long-distance migrations with the change of season, where they move to areas where good forage is more available. Sadly, Blue Wildebeests have seen serious population declines. Today, they typically live in much smaller herds and are less nomadic. Only three populations are known to migrate more than 100 miles.
- Damaliscus pygargus
- Adults are 80 to 100 cm (31 to 39 in) tall at the shoulder.
- They are chocolate brown with black tails, white undersides, white stripes from their foreheads to the tips of their noses, and a white patch surrounding their tails.
- Both sexes have large, dark-colored, noticeably ringed, curving horns. The horns can reach a length of 0.5 m (1.64 ft).
These antelopes are some of the easiest to spot in Angola!
They have a striking color pattern unlike any other, with rich brown fur and a large white patch on the front of the head. Their curved, ringed horns add another level of glamor to their appearance.
Males are territorial and fiercely guard harems of females and young year-round. They will attempt to intimidate other males by stamping their feet, digging up the soil with their horns, and swinging their heads. If their intimidation tactics fail, things may get violent. Males clash their horns and occasionally catch each other on the sides or head, which can be deadly.
In the early 1900s, Bonteboks came within a hair’s breadth of extinction! In 1931 only 17 Bonteboks remained in the wild! Thankfully, these 17 were conserved, and Bontebok National Park was created. Today, their population ranges from 2,500 to 3,000 individuals descended from those original 17 animals. However, Bonteboks remain listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
#6. Common Eland
- Tragelaphus oryx
- Adults are 1.4-1.6 m (4.5-5 ft) tall at the shoulder, and females are usually much smaller than males.
- They are a uniform fawn color with some vertical white striping on their upper parts.
- Both sexes have long dewlaps, short manes, and corkscrew horns that are 43–66 cm (17–26 in) long.
Elands are the largest antelope in Angola.
But they also hold the title as the slowest antelope, only running at speeds up to 32 kph (20 mph). However, they can jump nearly 1 m (3 ft) into the air. They are one of the world’s most adaptable ruminants and can survive in deserts, grasslands, and mountainous areas.
These unique antelopes have another feature that sets them apart: a weird sound that lets you know they’re near. When walking, the tendons and joints in their front legs produce sharp clicking sounds that can be heard from a distance. Scientists believe that these sounds may help an Eland advertise their territory.
Elands are generally social creatures and may form large herds of up to 500 individuals. Typically these larger herds are mostly females and their young, while males tend to roam by themselves or in small groups. Males often fight for mates, and females tend to select the most dominant males to breed with.
- Raphicerus campestris
- Adults are 45–60 cm (18–24 in) at the shoulder.
- They are reddish-fawn with a white throat and belly, large white-lined ears, and sharp hooves.
- Males have vertical horns that grow 7–19 cm (3-7.5 in) long.
Steenbok are some of the smallest antelopes in Angola!
They prefer to live in open areas that offer some cover in the form of grasses or sparse trees. They’re herbivorous but don’t just graze like some antelopes. Steenboks will actually use their sharp hooves to dig up roots and tubers. They get most of the moisture they need from their food, so you may find them far from fresh water.
Due to their small size, Steenboks have to be on high alert for predators. If they sense danger, their first instinct is to freeze and lie low in dense vegetation, but if they still feel threatened, they will run and sometimes try to hide in aardvark burrows!
Unlike other antelope, you’ll usually see Steenboks by themselves or in pairs. The males are territorial and solitary, remaining in their own territory for life. Males and females only come together to mate.
Although they are sometimes hunted for food, Steenboks are the most abundant small antelope in Angola. Because of their dense and widespread populations, they’re listed as a species of least concern on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.
- Oreotragus oreotragus
- Adults are 43–60 cm (17–24 in) tall at the shoulder.
- Adults are stocky with short necks and bodies, large hindquarters, large rounded ears, and sometimes short, straight horns.
- Their coats may be yellow and speckled with brown, bright golden-yellow, or gray and dull, with each individual hair being light at the base and dark towards the tip.
Look for Klipspringers in the arid, rocky hills of Angola.
To make life in these rocky regions a bit easier, Klipspringers have specially adapted feet. The last joints of their toes are rotated so that they walk on the tips of their hooves. The rocks wear the hooves down into cylindrical shapes well-suited for balancing on the rocks.
These unique little antelopes are also monogamous to a greater extent than most other antelopes. A pair will mark and defend a territory together, with males performing dominance displays and butting heads. Females are a bit aggressive too, and may bite and rip out each other’s fur.
Klipspringers are usually most active in the morning and evening. One of the pair, usually the male, will stand guard while the other feeds. They are preyed on by many large predators and have to remain constantly alert.
- Antidorcas marsupialis
- Adults are 71-86 cm (28-34 in) tall at the shoulder.
- They have white faces with dark stripes running from eyes to mouths, light brown coats with reddish stripes on their sides, and white undersides and rump flags.
- Both sexes have long black horns that curve backward and grow up to 35-50 cm (14-20 in) long.
Springboks were once the most-hunted antelope in Angola.
Today, most live within game preserves and farms, but Dutch farmers killed enormous numbers because they ruined crops.
Amazingly, Springboks can live without drinking water for years! They survive by selecting various leaves, flowers, and other succulent vegetation that is high in moisture. They will graze and browse, and their diet varies seasonally.
Springboks are preyed on by lions, cheetahs, and other big predators. When threatened or startled, Springboks display a unique defense tactic known as “pronking.” They leap straight up into the air up to 2 m (6.6 ft) off the ground in a stiff-legged position with their tail up and back arched. This is believed to startle and throw off predators.
Thankfully, the predators don’t seem to impact this species’ population too severely. They are one of the few antelope species that are actually believed to be increasing.
#10. Bush Duiker
- Sylvicapra grimmia
- Adults grow up to 50 cm (20 in) tall.
- They vary in color and may be chestnut, grizzled gray, or light brown, with an erect tuft of hair on the top of their head.
- Males have small, spike-like horns up to 11 cm (4.3 in) long with grooves at the base.
Bush Duikers are the smallest antelopes in Angola!
These little animals will adapt to various habitats and live in woodlands, savannas, grasslands, and mountainous areas. They inhabit higher altitudes than any other African ungulate. To help live in these inhospitable conditions, they consume insects and have occasionally been observed stalking and eating birds, rodents, lizards, and frogs.
Bush Duikers are territorial and form monogamous pairs. Both sexes will use threat displays to drive other Duikers of the same sex out of their territory. If these displays fail, battles may ensue! Females will head-butt other females, and males may fight, chase, and stab each other with their horns.
The lifespan of Bush Duikers in the wild is unknown, but they have lived up to 14 years in captivity. This species is listed as one of least concern on the IUCN Red List.
- Oryx gazella
- Adults are about 1.2 m (4 ft) at the shoulder.
- They are typically light taupe to tan in color with lighter patches towards the bottom of their rump.
- Black markings extend from the base of the horns and sweep back in stripes over the eyes and cheeks, continuing down their necks and backs. They have black bands around all four legs.
- Both sexes have slightly curved black horns with light-colored rings that average 85 cm (33 in) long.
Gemsboks are some of the most-hunted antelope in Angola.
They are prized by hunters for their long, curved horns, which are often turned into trophies or other ornamental objects. Although they’re a species of least concern on the IUCN Red List, there have been large declines in several parts of their range. They’re most susceptible to hunting, climate change, habitat destruction, and livestock overgrazing.
Surprisingly, their diet can provide all the water they need. Additionally, Gemsboks are excellent at storing excess water for later. In times of highly productive grazing, noticeable fat deposits will appear under their skin, which will keep them hydrated and healthy during dry periods.
As they live in areas with limited resources, they often move nomadically, searching for food. They’re gregarious animals that usually move together in small groups of about 14, though herds of 50-200 animals may occur during the wet season.
Oddly, you can also find these unique creatures in parts of North America. The New Mexico Department of Fish and Game introduced a herd to the Tularose Basin between 1969 and 1977. Today, scientists estimate their current North American population at around 3,000 individuals, and an unknown number have also spread north into the San Andres Wildlife Refuge and the Jornada Biosphere Reserve.
#12. Sable Antelope
- Hippotragus niger
- Adult males are 117–140 cm (46–55 in), and females are slightly smaller.
- Adult males are black, adult females are chestnut, and all adults typically have white eyebrow markings, cheek stripes, bellies, and rump patches.
- Both sexes have horns that arch backward, but the horns of females are generally 61–102 cm (24–40 in) long, while males’ horns may reach 81–165 cm (32–65 in).
These stunning antelopes in Angola prefer mixtures of savanna, open woodlands, and grasslands. They tend to avoid extensive areas of open land. Researchers believe that their food preferences dictate their somewhat limited habitat. Sable Antelopes prefer grasses at specific heights and only graze during certain seasons in a highly specific feeding pattern.
They also require water at least every other day. You will rarely spot this species more than two miles from a river or watering hole. Interestingly, Sable Antelopes will chew on bones to ingest important minerals they can’t get from grass.
Despite their calm appearance, these antelope are impressive fighters with few natural predators besides humans. Their formidable size and abilities make even lions think twice about taking on adults. However, the young are susceptible to predation from various species.
To help protect against predators, Sable Antelopes typically live in herds of 15 to 25 members. The herds with females, their young, and one dominant male will rally around all the young to protect them in case of an attack. Non-dominant males will also form bachelor herds until they are old enough to mate.
#13. Roan Antelope
- Hippotragus equinus
- Adults are 130–140 cm (51–55 in) at the shoulder.
- They are reddish-brown with lighter undersides, black faces, and white eyebrows, cheeks, and around the nose.
- They have short erect manes, light beards, and red nostrils, and both sexes have ringed horns that sweep backward.
Roan Antelopes are one of the largest in Angola!
Look for these large ruminants in lightly wooded savanna with medium or tall grass and access to water. They feed in the morning and evening and retreat to shaded areas in the middle of the day, so you’ll need to rise early to observe them.
Unlike many antelopes, healthy adult Roan Antelopes are formidable opponents to most predators. They don’t flee like many animals. Instead, they face down even the most fearsome predators, like lions. They’re known to gore attacking lions with their long, scimitar-like horns.
These fierce antelopes don’t travel alone either, instead living in mixed herds of about 20 animals, including females, young, and one dominant bull. Less dominant bachelor males tend to form their own groups. Being a herd animal is one more way these antelope discourage attacks.
Roan Antelopes are currently listed as lower risk but conservation dependent by the IUCN. Their populations have rapidly declined in recent years due to hunting and poaching, habitat deterioration and loss, and slaughter as part of tsetse fly control efforts.
- Tragelaphus spekii
- Adult males are 81–116 cm (32–46 in) tall at the shoulder, while females reach 72–90 cm (28–35 in) tall.
- Males are chocolate to gray-brown and have spiral-shaped horns that are 45–92 cm (18–36 in) long.
- Females are brown to bright chestnut.
- They have long coats and white markings on the face, ears, body, legs, and feet.
These antelopes have an unusual habitat in Angola – swampland!
Sitatunga have a few special adaptations that allow them to walk on boggy, marshy ground easily. Their feet are elongated with a wide splay and pad-like pattern. They also have unique flexibility in their foot joints, which helps keep them from getting stuck in the mud.
Sitatungas avoid areas of open water, instead preferring tall, dense vegetation like seasonal swamps, mangroves, and thickets. These habitats provide shelter from predators as well as the Sitatunga’s two favorite foods, papyrus and reed shoots. Oddly, when food is scarce, these antelope will eat elephant dung, which often has undigested seeds!
This species’ social structure varies. You may spot them on their own, in male and female pairs, in bachelor male groups of three or four, or in family groups of up to 15 animals, including females, young, and a dominant bull.
Check out these other guides about animals found in Angola!
Which of these antelopes have you seen before in Angola?
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