Cephalophus nigerblack duiker

Geographic Range

The Black Duiker ranges from Guinea to Southwestern Nigeria. This area includes the following countries: Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo.


C. niger is a terrestrial animal that is found in several different areas of the forest. It lives in areas of the rainforest and in in other forests. It can be found on the edges of these forests, in bushes and thickets. It can also be found in shrublands and degraded forests. (Walther, 1990).

Physical Description

Black Duikers are heavily built: short, stocky legs; long body; long head. They are dark brown to black in color. The bridge of their nose and other parts of their head are more reddish in color. They have bare nasal speculums and pointed hooves. Both sexes have horns. The male's are between 7.5 and 17.5 cm. The female's horns are between 2.5 and 3 cm. The body is between 80 and 90 cm long. The tail is between 12 and 14 cm long. The underside of the tail is white. The shoulder height is 45 to 50 cm. And they weigh between 15 and 20 kg.

  • Range mass
    15 to 20 kg
    33.04 to 44.05 lb
  • Range length
    80 to 90 cm
    31.50 to 35.43 in


There does not seem to be a restricted breeding season in C. niger. Females reach sexual maturity between ages 9 and 12 months. Males reach sexual maturity between ages 12 and 18 months. Gestation lasts about 7 months. Only 1 offspring is born per birth; and the offspring weighs about 1 kg. Weaning lasts no longer than 5 months.

  • Range number of offspring
    1 (low)
  • Average number of offspring
  • Range gestation period
    4.2 to 7 months
  • Range weaning age
    5 (high) months
  • Average weaning age
    5 months
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    9 to 18 months
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    9 to 18 months


The lifespan of C. niger is between 10 and 12 years.

  • Range lifespan
    Status: wild
    10 to 12 years
  • Average lifespan
    Status: captivity
    14.8 years


Cephalophus niger lives alone or in pairs. It is a sedentary and territorial animal. Some believe that it is diurnal (Kingdon, 1997), while others believe that it is nocturnal and crepuscular (Walther, 1990). Its territory is generally about 0.1 hectares.

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

Black Duikers eat a wide variety of foods. Fruits and foliage are the most common, however, their diet also includes everything from insects to eggs. It is possible that they occasionally eat birds, also.

Foods eaten include: flowers, leaves, buds, young shoots, grasses, herbs, berries, fruits, termites, ants, snails and eggs.

  • Animal Foods
  • birds
  • eggs
  • insects
  • mollusks
  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • fruit


Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Humans use the Black Duiker for its meat and its skin.

  • Positive Impacts
  • food
  • body parts are source of valuable material

Conservation Status

C. niger is one of the most common duikers in Africa. Still, it suffers from overhunting. It is considered to be rare and endangered in Sierra Leone, Togo, and Nigeria (Kingdon, 1997). However, the IUCN has it ranked as a lower risk species, that is, near threatened. Many are killed each year for meat and skins. Stricter rules on the bushmeat trade would help the status of this mammal.


Krista Milich (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Bret Weinstein (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

World Map


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.

bilateral symmetry

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


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.


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


an animal that mainly eats fruit


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

internal fertilization

fertilization takes place within the female's body


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


active during the night


rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


lives alone


uses touch to communicate


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


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

year-round breeding

breeding takes place throughout the year


Kingdon, J. 1997. The Kingdon Field guide to African Mammals. San Diego: Harcourt Brace and Company.

Kranz, K., K. Ronald. 1987. The 17 Species of Duikers. Pp. 558 in D Macdonald, ed. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File Publications.

Nowak, R., J. Paradiso. 1983. Walker's Mammals of the World 4th ed. V. 2. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Walther, F. 1990. Duikers and Dwarf Antelopes. Pp. 336-337 in S Parker, ed. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals V. 5. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Co..

Wilson, V., B. Wilson. 1990. Notes on the Duikers of Sierra Leone. Arnoldia Zimbabwe, 9: 451-462.