Reedbuck, any of three medium-sized antelopes (family Bovidae ) that inhabit the grasslands and marshes of sub-Saharan Africa.
The reedbuck is distinguished by a round glandular spot below each ear and curved horns (on males only) that point forward; these horns are shortest (14–41 cm [6–16 inches]) and most hooked in the bohor reedbuck and the mountain reedbuck . They are 30–45 cm (12–18 inches) and less hooked in the southern, or common, reedbuck . The southern reedbuck is the largest species, standing 65–105 cm (26–41 inches) tall and weighing 50–95 kg (110–210 pounds), compared with 65–76 cm (26–30 inches) and 19–38 kg (42–84 pounds) for the mountain reedbuck, the smallest of the three. Males are 10–20 percent larger than females, with thicker necks and bolder markings—pale underparts and a large white throat patch and white underside of the bushy tail.
Bohor reedbucks occur throughout the northern savanna in suitable habitats and reach high densities on major floodplains. Their range extends in Eastern Africa from Ethiopia to central Tanzania, where it overlaps with that of the southern reedbuck, which inhabits tall grasslands bordering watercourses, swamps, and lakes of the southern savanna. Indeed, both the bohor reedbuck and the southern reedbuck are limited to habitats with concealing tall herbage near or in wetlands.
Feeding of ReedBucks
Mountain reedbucks can go without drinking as long as green herbage is available; the other two species are water-dependent. All three reedbucks depend on cover to hide from danger. They emerge to graze in the open mainly at night, although with protection they become more active during the day. Their build, with overdeveloped hindquarters, is adapted for quick starts and high bounds but not for sustained rapid flight; lacking cover, they are vulnerable to wild dogs and spotted hyenas. Alerted and fleeing reedbucks emit whistling alarm calls.
Reedbucks represent a transition from a solitary or monogamous social system, as represented by antelopes that live in closed habitats such as forests, to a sociable, polygynous system typical of antelopes that live in open habitats such as savannas. The southern reedbuck lives mostly in territorial couples. The bohor reedbuck is polygynous; males defend territories that include the ranges of two or more females and their current offspring.
Reproduction of Reedbucks
Reproduction peaks in the rainy season. Beginning at one year of age for the mountain reedbuck and two years for the larger species, females reproduce at intervals of 9–14 months, with a gestation of seven and a half months. Males mature at 3–4 years.Reproduction peaks in the rainy season. Beginning at one year of age for the mountain reedbuck and two years for the larger species, females reproduce at intervals of 9–14 months, with a gestation of seven and a half months. Males mature at 3–4 years.
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