Mountain reedbucks inhabit three separate geographic areas, each containing a recognized subspecies. Southern mountain reedbucks are found from the eastern Cape Province to southeastern Botswana. Throughout history some populations have disappeared in this range for various reasons. The East African subspecies (Chanler's Mountain Reedbuck) is found in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, and Ethiopia. The West African subspecies has only been found in Camroon. (Irby, 1987)
Mountain reedbucks are normally found in hilly, broken terrain with grasses dominating the ground cover. They inhabit areas with scattered trees with water sources nearby. They will use flat terrain adjacent to hilly and broken terrain. (Irby, 1987)
An adult male mountain reedbuck is about 70 cm tall at the shoulders and weighs 30 kg. The species is characterized by short curved horns. Adult female mountain reedbucks are smaller than males, but both sexes have grayish brown hair on the body, rufous necks, white undersides, and a bushy tail with a white underside. Both males and females also display a dark scent patch underneath the ears. (Irby, 1987)
Female mountain reedbucks can experience first estrus at 9 to 12 months, but most do not experience it until 12 to 24 months. Males produce viable sperm at 1 year. Lambing intervals run from 9 months to 14 months with the gestation period normally eight months. One lamb is typically born at a time. (Irby, 1979; Irby, 1987)
No information was found on parental care of the mountain reedbuck. However, in general, bovids produce precocious offspring which are able to follow the mother from a very early age. The female provides her young with milk until weaning. Because the interbirth intervalis about one year, it is safe to assume that at offspring is weaned before it is a year old. (Irby, 1979)
In one study the number of carcasses found increased during the late winter period which indicated the animals are in bad condition in winter leading to higher mortality. This also indicated mountain reedbuck are more vulnerable to predation during times of low productivity. (Irby, 1973)
Mountain redbucks are large, terrestrial bovids. They can be active at any time of day, but seem to prefer to feed in the early morning, evening, and sometimes through the night. (Nowak, 1999)
Mountain reedbucks are normally found in small groups of six or less animals. A typical group is made up of one adult male and several adult females and juveniles. The dominant males will tolerate younger males, but normally the younger males will form bachelor groups and live on the outside of the herd. The dominant males will mark their territory using visual displays, olfactory, and auditory signals. Once these territories have been marked they will normally remain there for the whole year. (Irby, 1987)
Mountain reedbucks will use a shrill whistle to indicate danger nearby. They will also use a whistle to warn other animals of its home range along with scent and visual displays. (Irby, 1987)
Mountain reedbucks have been recognized as roughage grazers that primarily feed on grasses. In one study monocots constituted 99.5% of the material found in the rumen. Mountain reedbucks possess the ability to selectively graze to obtain the highest nutrition from a low quality diet. (Irby, 1977)
Predators of the mountain reedbuck include lions, leopards, wild dogs, jackals, and caracal, and sometimes baboons. There is currently no evidence to show predation as a limiting factor on reedbuck populations. The only predator that may pose a threat to the populations is humans and the over-hunting of mountain reedbuck. (Irby, 1977; Irby, 1987)
As folivores, mountain reedbucks provide an important link in food webs. they are hunted by lions, leopards, wild dogs, jackals, and caracal, and sometimes baboons. Therfore, as a prey species, they potentially impact the populations of predators. They probably also influence the growth of vegetation through their own foraging behavior. (Irby, 1987)
Mountain reedbucks possess qualities that make them a challenge for sport hunting and are sought after for their venison. They are also an important animal for wildlife viewing. According to Irby (1975), mountain reedbucks represent a species that should be encouraged in the Cape Province for its ecological, recreational, and aesthetic values. (Irby, 1975)
Mountain reedbucks can compete with domestic livestock for available grazing habitat, but for the most part they inhabit areas that are undesirable for cattle. (Irby, 1987)
Hunting of mountain reedbucks must be managed carefully since the animals do not move to areas of high productivity. Hunting has not been shown to be a major factor in negatively impacting populations of mountain reedbucks, but it has been in other ungulate populations. The mountain reedbuck is listed as conservation dependent by IUCN. (Irby, 1987)
The author wishes to thank Dr. Lynn Irby, from Montana State University, for providing me with his work on mountain reedbucks.
Nancy Shefferly (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Ashly Steinke (author), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Chris Yahnke (editor), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.
uses sound to communicate
young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
active at dawn and dusk
humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals.
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
union of egg and spermatozoan
an animal that mainly eats leaves.
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species
having more than one female as a mate at one time
communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them
scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
one of the sexes (usually males) has special physical structures used in courting the other sex or fighting the same sex. For example: antlers, elongated tails, special spurs.
associates with others of its species; forms social groups.
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.
A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.
A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
Irby, L. 1973. A preliminary report on the mountain reedbuck (Journal of South African Wildlife Management, 3/2: 53-58.) in the Loskop Dam Nature Preserve.
Irby, L. 1977. Food habits of Chanler's mountain reedbuck in a rift valley ranch. East African Wildlife Journal, 15/4: 289-294.
Irby, L. 1975. Meat production potential of mountain reedbuck. South African Journal of Animal Science, 5: 67-76.
Irby, L. 1987. Mountain Reedbuck. Pelea, 6.
Irby, L. 1979. Reproduction in mountain reedbuck. Mammalia, 43: 191-213.
Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Sixth Edition. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.