13 Antelope Species found in Ethiopia (2024)

What are the different kinds of antelopes that live in Ethiopia?

Types of antelopes in Ethiopia

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!

13 Antelopes Found in Ethiopia:


#1. Greater Kudu

  • Tragelaphus strepsiceros

Types of antelopes in Ethiopia

Identifying Characteristics:

  • 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 Ethiopia!

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.


#2. Southern Bushbuck

  • Tragelaphus sylvaticus

Types of antelopes in Ethiopia

Identifying Characteristics:

  • 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 Ethiopia. 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.

YouTube video

#3. Waterbuck

  • Kobus ellipsiprymnus

Types of antelopes in Ethiopia

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 120-136 cm (47-54 in) tall at the shoulder.
  • They have shaggy brown-gray coats, large rounded ears, and white patches above the eyes, on the throat, and around the nose and mouth.
  • Males have prominently ringed horns that curve back and up and may reach 55–99 cm (22–39 in) long.

The Waterbuck’s appearance may vary throughout its range. There are 13 recognized subspecies, all with slightly different traits! In general, all waterbucks keep their glossy coats with a unique oily secretion. It makes them smell a bit funny to humans, but the scent helps them to find a mate! The oil secretion also serves to help keep their coat waterproof.

These robust antelopes live in grasslands in Ethiopia and are almost always found near water, as their name suggests. Compared to some more migratory antelope species, Waterbucks tend to be rather sedentary, remaining in valleys with rivers and lakes. This is because their diet depends on access to fresh water along with the protein-rich medium and short grasses that grow in moist areas.

Waterbucks are social animals and usually live in herds of up to 30 individuals. Typically, bachelor males form herds together, and females form separate herds comprised of only females and their young.

Once born, mothers leave their calf hidden in the thicket and only visit to nurse. This helps prevent predators from smelling or finding the calf, though mortality is still quite high.


#4. Common Eland

  • Tragelaphus oryx

Types of antelopes in Ethiopia

Identifying Characteristics:

  • 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 Ethiopia.

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.

YouTube video

#5. Klipspringer

  • Oreotragus oreotragus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • 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 Ethiopia.

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.


#6. Bush Duiker

  • Sylvicapra grimmia

Identifying Characteristics:

  • 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 Ethiopia!

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.

YouTube video

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.


#7. Hartebeest

  • Alcelaphus buselaphus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are around 1 m (3.3 ft) tall at the shoulder.
  • They have deeply sloping backs, long legs, long, narrow snouts, tufted tails, and large glands below their eyes.
  • Their coloring varies and may be pale brown to brownish gray, and both sexes have dark, oddly shaped horns.

Look for these antelopes in grasslands and savannas in Ethiopia.

Hartebeests are almost entirely grazers, and their diet is never less than 80% grass. Their odd, long snout may look funny, but it enhances their chewing ability, allowing them to gain more nutrition from poor-quality food.

The map above shows the ranges of the different Hartebeest subspecies.

Hartebeests are usually rather sedentary animals that appear to be relaxing on the plains, but don’t let their casual appearance fool you. They are alert and cautious. Hartebeests always have a sentinel watching for predators. When danger is spotted, the herd will bolt away as a group.

Despite their somewhat awkward appearance, Hartebeests can reach speeds up to 80 kph (50 mph). They also outmaneuver predators by making a quick 90-degree turn as a group.

Although their populations are stable as a whole, some subspecies of Hartebeests are endangered or threatened. They are dependent on conservation efforts to keep their numbers up. Hartebeests are affected by hunting and habitat loss and destruction, primarily related to cattle farming.


#8. Northern Bushbuck

  • Tragelaphus scriptus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 65-100 cm (26-39 in) tall at the shoulder.
  • Adults may be reddish, yellow-brown, or light brown with various white spots and stripes, which vary over their range.
  • Adult males have parallel horns which spiral once and are fairly straight.

These antelopes are highly adaptable in Ethiopia.

Northern Bushbucks prefer areas with plenty of wooded cover. They spend much of their time on forest edges and in brushy areas near rivers and streams. At night they often head to nearby open areas to feed. Northern Bushbucks are very capable swimmers and will easily cross rivers.

When conditions are good, Northern Bushbucks tend to be selective feeders and show a clear preference for knobbly creeper and sausage trees. That said, they’re excellent survivalists and will browse various plants when necessary, consuming leaves, twigs, flowers, and occasionally some grass.

These small antelopes are a solitary species but aren’t territorial, so sometimes, many animals will live within the same habitat even though they don’t form traditional herds. They’re widespread and plentiful within their range. In fact, unlike many antelopes, they are able to thrive around humans, and in some areas, they are considered a pest.

YouTube video

#9. Kob

  • Kobus kob

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 82–100 cm (26-39 in) tall at the shoulder.
  • They have short, reddish-brown coats, white throat patches, white underparts, and distinctive black stripe marks on the front of their forelegs.
  • Adult males have ringed horns that curve backward and then turn up at the tips.

Look for these antelopes in Ethiopia around permanent water sources.

You might spot Kobs grazing in moist savannas, floodplains, and along the edges of woodlands. They feed primarily on grasses and weeds and will migrate great distances along rivers and streams to find food.

About nine months after breeding, females typically give birth to a single calf. The calves remain hidden, with mothers visiting only to suckle them for the first month of their life. This protects them from predators because the adult females draw much more attention than the young. As they get older, the calves form groups, called crèches, and then eventually join the herd at three to four months old.

Kobs are listed as a species of least concern on the IUCN Red List. However, their populations are declining because of hunting and human development. Their range is greatly reduced from what it was even 100 years ago, and they may become dependent on conservation efforts in the future.


#10. Tsessebe

  • Damaliscus lunatus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 100 to 130 cm (39 to 51 in) at the shoulder.
  • They have glossy, tan coats with grayish or bluish-black markings on their upper legs, black faces and tail tufts, and light undersides.
  • Both sexes have ringed, s-shaped horns, but they are typically slightly larger in males. They range in size from 37-40 cm (15-16 in) long.

Tsessebes are one of the most territorial antelope species in Ethiopia.

Their territories are taken seriously by other Tsessebe herds, to the point that traveling herds will go to great lengths to avoid them. They will move around the outskirts of another herd’s territory, occasionally risking entering neutral areas with lions and other predators!

Tsessebe Range Map

Damaliscus lunatus. (2023, July 9). In Wikipedia.

The map above shows the ranges of the different Tsessebe subspecies.

All of the Tsessebes’ territories have high vantage points, which allow females to alert others of danger and males to display their territory. They prefer grassland habitats, including open plains and lightly wooded savannas. As their habitat suggests, they feed primarily on grass.

During the rainy season, when the grass is fresh and wet, they get all their water needs from their food, but during dry periods, they need fresh water every day or two. Tsessebes are most active in the morning and evening and spend the hotter parts of the day watering, resting, and digesting their food.


#11. Gerenuk

  • Litocranius walleri

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 80–105 cm (31-41 in) tall at the shoulder.
  • They are tawny brown with a reddish saddle on their back, white on their undersides, black outlines around their eyes with white circles around them, and white inner ears with black markings.
  • They have distinctive long necks and long thin legs, and adult males have ringed, scimitar-shaped horns that are 25–44 cm (10–17 in) long.

Look for this antelope in Ethiopia in dry, brushy regions.

Gerenuks feed on the leaves, shoots, flowers, and fruit from various trees and bushes. They’re most active during the day, but they usually stand or rest in the shade in the hottest hours. This is the best time to catch a glimpse!

Gerenuks use their long legs and necks to their advantage! They stand up on their hind legs to grab food that’s out of reach for most other antelope species. These amazing creatures can reach up to 2 m (6.6 ft) off the ground.

Gerenuks usually live in small herds of up to ten members, though some males live a solitary life. Males are very territorial and mark their territories by rubbing their preorbital glands on trees and shrubs. This releases a musk that other Gerenuks can identify, warning them away.

Unfortunately, this unique species is in danger of extinction because of climate change and human development of their range. Gerenuks are listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.


#12. East African Oryx

  • Oryx beisa

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults stand about 1 m (3 ft) at the shoulder.
  • They have a gray coat and white underside separated by a black stripe and black stripes on the legs, where the head attaches to the neck, along the nose, and from the eye to the mouth and on the forehead.
  • They have small, chestnut-colored manes, thin, straight-ringed horns, and long black tails.

These antelope live in some of the harshest climates in Ethiopia.

The East African Oryx inhabits semi-deserts and steppes. To survive in these intensely hot and dry regions, they are able to store water by raising their body temperature and avoiding perspiration.

In addition to conserving their water, they eat smart too. East African Oryxes feed in the cooler hours of the early morning and evening, when plants have 25 to 40% more water content. They mainly consume coarse grasses and thorny shrubs, but in desert areas, they feed on roots and tubers, wild melons, and thick-leaved plants.

Despite their resourceful nature and adaptability, the IUCN lists East African Oryxes as endangered. They are over-hunted for their meat, hides, and horns, which are often used as charms. They have seen rapid habitat loss and population decline in the last two centuries due to agriculture, roads, and settlements. Some conservation efforts are underway, but more are needed to preserve this antelope.


#13. Dorcas Gazelle

  • Gazella dorcas

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 55–65 cm (22-26 in) tall at the shoulder.
  • They are pale-colored with white underbellies and a rufous stripe down their sides, separating their upper and lower coloring.
  • They have white eye rings, a pair of white and dark brown stripes running from each eye to the corners of the mouth, and ringed, lyre-shaped horns, which are generally thinner, straighter, and shorter in females.

These antelopes thrive in the dry habitats of Ethiopia.

Dorcas Gazelles are the second smallest gazelle species. They’re well adapted to the desert and live in arid places like dry savannas, semi-deserts, wadis, small sand dune fields, steppes, and mountain deserts.

Unsurprisingly, they can easily handle high temperatures and harsh sunlight. Despite these intense conditions, they don’t need much water and get most of their moisture from their food, though they will drink when it’s available.

If these antelope spot a predator, they twitch their tails and make bounding leaps to warn others and confuse their attacker. Dorcas Gazelles are often able to make an escape if a predator gives chase. Their long, slender legs allow them to sprint away at speeds of 80-100 kph (50-62 mph). They can even make quick zig-zags which help them to escape cheetahs.

Unfortunately, these fascinating creatures are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of endangered species. Their populations have declined significantly as they have faced extreme habitat loss due to land development and climate change.


Check out these other guides about animals found in Ethiopia!


Which of these antelopes have you seen before in Ethiopia?

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