|At a Glance|
|Size||35cm to shoulder|
|Mass||4,7kg Female 4kg Males|
|Lifespan||10 - 12 years|
|Conservation Status||Scheduled as|
The Blue Duiker is the smallest of all antelopes in Central and Southern Africa.
It is uniformly blue-grey in colour with a slightly paler shade on the underside. The tail has a splash of white which is noticeable when they flick the tails.
Both sexes have very short sometimes only 2cm, sharp and straight horns – in some females the horns are barely visible.
They have a distinctive angular glandular slit beneath both eyes.
The blue duiker is monogamous, with pairs appearing to mate for life and living in a small territory, which is defended against other blue duikers and regularly scent-marked.
They are most active at dawn and dusk but have been observed by camera traps to move occasionally at night. They are very often seen in pairs.
They are primarily herbivores eating leaves, flowers and fallen berries but are known to opportunistically eat birds eggs and insects.
They are non-seasonal breeders, with a gestation period of about 210 days. Single fawns are born, weighing 400 grams.
Young are hidden for the first few weeks after birth, and later driven from the parent's territory when sexually matured at about 388 days.
Widely distributed from the Eastern Cape to West Africa. They are quite common in the Highway area and Kloof because of the dense riverine forests.
They live in forest or dense bush (either coastal or inland forests) in the high-rainfall regions of KwaZulu-Natal, up to an altitude of 1370 m. They occur in the bioclimatic regions Coast lowlands (south of St Lucia), Coast hinterland, and Mistbelt.
Although they can survive in very small territories they are threatened by habitat loss or habitat fragmentation as a result of farming or housing developments in urban areas like eThekwini.
They are preyed on by the African Crowned Eagles who are very efficient forest hunters.
The Blue Duiker is one of three species of antelope found in Krantzkloof Nature reserve the others being Bushbuck and the closely related but larger Grey or Common Duiker.
The Common Duiker is found in scrubby bush tickets and forest edges but seldom in the forest itself.
Good areas to spot the Blue Duiker are in the Ronald’s Kloof area and Longshadow Trail.
The name “duiker” comes from an Afrikaans word meaning “diver”, these species being named for their habit of diving into cover when disturbed; in the blue duiker this behaviour is often accompanied by a loud, sneezing whistle given by the male.
A video clip is available on YouTube.