Reedbuck - Redunca arundinum

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Afrikaans Rietbok
Zulu Nxala Shangaan Nhlangu 
R.W. Min 14" Max 18"
S.C.I Min 34" Max 53
" Measurement Method 1

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1.5 cm

Unusual features/differences from similar animals

The ears are sharp whereas they are more rounded in mountain reedbuck. A dark band runs down the front of each foreleg whereas the mountain reedbuck has no band down the leg. At the base of each horn is a distinctive band of whitish rubbery tissue. Horns are evenly curved forward whereas they are sharply hooked at the tip in mountain reedbuck.

Visible Male/Female Differences

Only males bear horns and they are larger than females. Females have two pairs of nipples between their hind legs.

Habitat and Distribution

Grassland near permanent water courses. Dependent on cover and free access to water. Prefers burnt areas for feeding.


A grazer but will browse if the nutritional quality of the grass is too low. 


Single young are born throughout the year after a gestation of 24 weeks. Females first give birth at 2-3 years. Females give birth in cover, and lambs lie hidden for two months; mothers visit once a day and once or twice at night to suckle and clean them. Mother and young rejoin the male after 3-4 months. Males mature at 9 months but do not mate unless they hold territory. Average lifespan 4-5 years, maximum 10 years.

Behavior and Habits

Solitary or lives singly, in pairs or threes. They are most active at night and only feeds in daylight if food is scarce, drinking water several times a day. Reedbuck rest in patches of bushes or tall grass trampled down to make a bed. They are territorial with overlapping ranges and males are territorial only during the mating season.  Occupation of a territory is advertised by holding the neck erect and head high to show the white throat band, by running with an exaggerated rocking motion, ritual urination and defecation and loud whistling sounds. Fights are ritualised horn clashing which may escalate and often result in death. Submission is signalled by lowering the head. Runs a way at a gallop with occasional long jumps.

They utilise two styles of stotting: 1) jerking the hind legs backwards and outwards, which produces a popping sound or 2) jumping with the hind legs tucked up, hindquarters high and head back, emitting a snort at each jump.


The alarm call is a loud high-pitched whistle through the nostrils, which may also tell the predator that it has lost the element of surprise. Also produces a popping sound when jerking the hind legs backwards and outwards.

Dung and Field sign

Flattened beds of grass in patches of tall grass. Droppings are 1,5 cm long, tapered at one end, blunt at the other.

Safari Media Africa/C.A. Mitchell 2000-2012

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