Bohor reedbuck (Redunca redunca)

Also known as: Bohar reedbuck
GenusRedunca (1)
SizeHead-body length: 100 - 135 cm (2)
Female weight: 43 - 65 kg (2)
Male weight: 35 - 45 kg (2)

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

This medium-sized, sandy coloured antelope possesses no outstanding physical features (3), instead, its loud whistles and bounding behaviour are more distinctive attributes that signify its presence in the tall grasslands it inhabits (2). The bohor reedbuck has a yellowish to pale reddish-brown coat, with a greasy appearance due to the sebaceous glands at the roots of the hairs (2), and white underparts (3). It has a short, busy tail (3), and a conspicuous grey patch under each ear where scent glands are situated (4). Only the male, or ram, possesses short, stout, ringed horns that are hooked forwards (3).

Occurs from Senegal, east to Ethiopia and south to Tanzania (2).

The bohor reedbuck inhabits moist grasslands and swamplands (5). It often occurs in unstable grasslands that are susceptible to flooding, drought and fires, but is well adapted to these extremes (2).

The bohor reedbuck is exclusively a grazer (2) that feeds on fresh green grasses and tender reed shoots (4). It generally feeds during the night when it may wander up to 8 kilometres from its daytime shelter (2). However, during the dry season, when the quality of the grass and reeds deteriorates, feeding at night alone allows insufficient time for the reedbuck to fulfil its energetic and nutritional requirements, and thus it may continue to graze throughout the day also (2). Like other small antelope, the bohor reedbuck hides from predators rather than forming herds in defence (5). Whilst the grass and reeds of its habitat provide important shelter from predators, it can be difficult to communicate with each other in such dense surroundings, and thus the bohor has adopted leaping and whistling as effective forms of communication (2). Choruses of variable whistles are frequently herd throughout the night, and leaps, which differ in height, length and style, are a characteristic behaviour of the bohor reedbuck (2).

During the wet season when food is plentiful, females and their offspring occur separately, with up to five females living within the breeding territory of a male reedbuck (3). Although, due to the changeable nature of their habitat, this is more a case of the rams defending access to the ewes, rather than defending an area, whilst the ewes seek out the best and safest pastures (2). During the dry season, these small groups merge into herds of up to ten animals (6).

Courtship in the bohor reedbuck begins with the male circling the female, and making a peculiar bleating noise, described as the sound of a toy trumpet (2). The gestation period lasts for seven months, after which a single calf is born, which remains well hidden for the first two months of life (2). Male calves are driven away from the herd after six months, and form bachelor herds until they become fully mature at the age of four years. Females however, are able to breed at just one year of age (2).

The bohor reedbuck is a common and widely distributed species (2). However, it still faces the threat of habitat loss and degradation due to the encroachment of human settlements into its habitat (1), particularly in West Africa, where reedbuck populations have become fragmented (3). The hunting of this species for food also poses a potential threat (1).

Despite the threats of habitat loss and degradation that the bohor reedbuck faces, it has proved itself capable of surviving in the face of agricultural expansion (2).

For further information on the bohor reedbuck and on conservation in Africa, see:

Authenticated (24/03/10) by Dr David Mallon, Co-Chair, IUCN/SSC Antelope Specialist Group.

  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2009)
  2. Kingdon, J. (1997) The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press, San Diego.
  3. Stuart, C. and Stuart, T. (1997) Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
  4. Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
  5. Macdonald, D.W. (2006) The Encyclopedia of Mammals. OxfordUniversity Press, Oxford.
  6. Alden, P.C., Estes, R.D., Schlitter, D. and McBride, B. (1996) Collins Guide to African Wildlife. HarperCollins Publishers, London.