|At a Glance|
|Size||80cm (M) 70cm (F)|
|Conservation Status||Least Concern|
These medium-sized antelope vary considerably in colour, ranging from bright chestnut to dark-brown. The ram is usually a darkish brown and the ewe a lighter reddish brown. Both sexes darken with age. They are well-camouflaged for dappled light, using disruptive colouration in the form of white spots and lines on the coat to break the body outline. They have no white band between the eyes, as in Kudu and Nyala but there are two white patches on the throat. The ram has a crest of longish hair running down his back which is raised when threatened or in display. The bushy tail is brown above and white below.
Bushbuck are solitary, non-territorial antelopes. Neither the male nor the female defend any part of their home range, so many ranges overlap. They are most active during the early mornings and at night, therefore are almost entirely nocturnal in areas where they are likely to be disturbed. Mature bushbuck rams make a point of staying out of one another's way. They tend to walk with very deliberate high-legged steps, frequently placing the hind foot in the exact spot where the forefoot had been, in an effort to negotiate the tangled undergrowth. They are good swimmers.
Bushbuck are mainly browsers, but are also known to eat grass when out from their usual habitat of the understory. They are selective feeders, but during hardship are able to adapt their feeding habits for the sake of survival.
Bushbuck are polyganandrous, meaning multiple males and females share one another; mating is done on a first-come, first-served basis. A single lamb is born, weighing 3.5 - 4.5 kg after a gestation period of 180 days.
They are widely distributed throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and are one of the most common species of antelope.
Bushbuck are always found near a permanent water source and prefer dense bush and forest margins.
The biggest threat to bushbuck is the loss of habitat through agricultural development or urbanisation. They are also vulnerable to poaching.
Interestingly they are also under threat in some areas by the spread of a similar species, the Nyala. Nyala are larger than bushbuck and can reach food that is not accessible to bushbuck and this can result in them displacing bushbuck
The bushbuck is the most common antelope in the reserve and the one you are most likely to see. Good spots are the forest margins along the Longshadows Trail, the Beacon Trail (Orange), anywhere along the Molweni River and on the forest margins bordering the grasslands near Nkutu Gorge.
Outside of the reserve the bushbuck are under threat from habitat loss due to housing developments and habitat change, where people have cleared the indigenous bush along streams to plant lawn or crops. Homes along streams and forest margins are also frequently fenced, thereby destroying the natural corridors through which bushbuck move.
Bushbuck are not uncommon visitors to Kloof homes and roads where, unfortunately, they often succumb to being run over by speeding vehicles, attacks by dogs, electric fencing and even drowning in swimming pools.
Only Males have horns. Average horn length 26cm, record horn length 52.07cm, horn is very sharp with a single twist.
When a lamb is born the mother will ingest the placenta. The lamb is also kept hidden for the first 4 months, during which time the mother will ingest the lamb's dung. These extraordinary acts of motherly love are all aimed at removing scent traces of the lamb thus making them less vulnerable to predators.
A video clip is available on YouTube.