|Synonyms  |
The lesser kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis) is a medium-sized bushland antelope, found in East Africa. It is placed in the genus Tragelaphus and family Bovidae. It was first scientifically described by the English zoologist Edward Blyth in 1869. The head-and-body length is typically 110–140 cm (43–55 in). Males reach about 95–105 cm (37–41 in) at the shoulder, while females reach 90–100 cm (35–39 in). Males typically weigh 92–108 kg (203–238 lb) and females 56–70 kg (123–154 lb). The females and juveniles have a reddish-brown coat, while the males become yellowish grey or darker after the age of 2 years. Horns are present only on males. The spiral horns are 50–70 cm (20–28 in) long, and have two to two-and-a-half twists.
A pure browser, the lesser kudu feeds on foliage from bushes and trees (shoots, twigs) and herbs. Despite seasonal and local variations, foliage from trees and shrubs constitute 60–80% of the diet throughout the year. The lesser kudu is mainly active at night and during the dawn, and seeks shelter in dense thickets just after the sunrise. The lesser kudu exhibits no territorial behaviour, and fights are rare. While females are gregarious, adult males prefer being solitary. No fixed breeding season is seen; births may occur at any time of the year. The lesser kudu inhabits dry bushland regions.
The lesser kudu is native to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, but it is possibly extirpated from Djibouti. It may have been present in Saudi Arabia and Yemen as recently as 1967, though its presence in the Arabian Peninsula is still controversial.  The total population of the lesser kudu has been estimated to be nearly 118,000, with a decreasing trend in populations. One-third of the populations survive in protected areas. Presently, the International Union for Conservation of Nature rates the lesser kudu as "near threatened".
|Phylogenetic relationships of the mountain nyala from combined analysis of all molecular data (Willows-Munro et.al. 2005)|
The scientific name of the lesser kudu is Tragelaphus imberbis. The animal is classified under the genus Tragelaphus in family Bovidae. It was first described by the English zoologist Edward Blyth in 1869.  The generic name, Tragelaphus, derives from Greek word tragos, meaning a male goat, and elaphos, which means a deer, while the specific name imberbis comes from the Latin term meaning unbearded, referring to this kudu's lack of mane.  The vernacular name kudu (or koodoo) may have originated from the Khoikhoi kudu, or via the Afrikaans koedoe.  The term "lesser" denotes the smaller size of this antelope as compared to the greater kudu. 
In 1912, the genus Ammelaphus was established for just the lesser kudu by American zoologist Edmund Heller, the type species being A. strepsiceros.  The lesser kudu is now typically placed in Tragelaphus.  However, a 2011 publication by Colin Groves and Peter Grubb argues for the lesser kudu's renewed placement in the genus Ammelaphus on the grounds that this species is part of the earliest-diverging lineage of its tribe, having split from the main lineage before it separated into Tragelaphus and Taurotragus. 
In 2005, Sandi Willows-Munro (of the University of KwaZulu-Natal) and colleagues carried out a mitochondrial analysis of the nine Tragelaphus species. mtDNA and nDNA data were compared. The results showed that the tribe Tragelaphini is monophyletic with the lesser kudu basal in the phylogeny, followed by the nyala (T. angasii).   On the basis of mitochondrial data, the lesser kudu separated from its sister clade around 13.7 million years ago. However, the nuclear data show that lesser kudu and nyala form a clade, and collectively separated from the sister clade 13.8 million years ago.  
The lesser kudu has 38 diploid chromosomes. However, unlike others in the subfamily Tragelaphinae, the X chromosome and Y chromosome are compound and each is fused with one of two identical autosomes. 
The lesser kudu is a spiral-horned antelope. The head-and-body length is typically between 110 and 140 cm (43 and 55 in). Males reach about 95–105 cm (37–41 in) at the shoulder, while females reach 90–100 cm (35–39 in). Males typically weigh 92–108 kg (203–238 lb) and females 56–70 kg (123–154 lb).  The bushy tail is 25–40 cm (9.8–15.7 in) long, white underneath and with a black tip at the end. 
Distinct signs of sexual dimorphism are seen in the antelope. The male is considerably larger than the female. The females, as well as juveniles, have a rufous coat, whereas the males become yellowish grey or darker after the age of 2 years. The male has a prominent black crest of hair on the neck, but this feature is not well-developed in the female.  One long white stripe runs along the back, with 11–14 white stripes branching towards the sides.  The chest has a central black stripe, and no throat beard is present.  A black stripe runs from each eye to the nose and a white one from each eye to the centre of the dark face. A chevron is present between the eyes. The area around the lips is white, the throat has white patches, and two white spots appear on each side of the lower jaw. The underparts are completely white, while the slender legs are tawny and have black and white patches.  The lesser kudu is characterised by large, rounded ears. Its tracks are similar to the greater kudu's.  Females have four teats.  The average lifespan is 10 years in the wild, and 15 years in captivity. 
Horns are present only on males. The spiral horns are 50–70 cm (20–28 in) long, and have two to two-and-a-half twists.  The base circumference is 156–171 cm (61–67 in).  The slender horns are dark brown and tipped with white.  Male young begin developing horns after 6-8 months, which reach full length after 3 years. 
The lesser kudu is mainly active at night and during the dawn, and seeks shelter in dense thickets just after the sunrise.  It can camouflage so well in such dense vegetation that only its ears and tail can indicate its presence.  The midday is spent in rest and rumination in shaded areas.   The animal spends about equal time foraging, standing and lying, and roaming.  As a thin tragelaphine, the lesser kudu can move readily through dense vegetation with ease. The lesser kudu is a shy and wary animal. When alarmed, the animal stands motionless. If it senses any approaching predator, it gives out a short sharp bark, similar to the bushbuck's, then makes multiple leaps up to 2 m (6.6 ft) high with an upraised tail. If captured by the predator, the victim gives a loud bleat. 
Lesser kudus are gregarious in nature, especially females. No distinct leader or any hierarchy is noted in the social structure; with no territorial behavior, fights are uncommon. While fighting, the lesser kudus interlock horns and try pushing one another. Mutual grooming is hardly observed.  Unlike most tragelaphines, females can be closely associated for several years. One to three females, along with their offspring, may form a group. Juvenile males leave their mothers when aged a year and a half, and may form pairs. However, at the age of 4-5 years, males prefer a solitary lifestyle and avoid one another, though four or five bulls may share the same home range. Lesser kudu do not usually associate with other animals, except when they feed in the same area.  
A pure browser, the lesser kudu feeds on foliage from bushes and trees (shoots, twigs) and herbs.  It also eats flowers and fruits if available, and takes small proportions of grasses, usually in the wet season. Despite seasonal and local variations, foliage from trees and shrubs constitutes 60-80% of the diet throughout the year. Foliage from creepers and vines (such as Thunbergia guerkeana and some species of Cucurbitaceae and Convulvulaceae) forms 15-25% of the diet in the wet season. Fruits are consumed mainly in the dry season. Olfactory searching, much in the same posture as grazing, is used to find fallen fruits (such as Melia volkensii and Acacia tortilis ), while small fruits (such as Commiphora species) are directly plucked from trees. The size and structure of its stomach also suggests its primary dependence on browse. 
The lesser kudu browses primarily at dusk or dawn, or nocturnally,  and is sometimes associated with gerenuk and the impala.  The lesser kudu and the gerenuk might compete for evergreen species in the dry season.  However, unlike the gerenuk, the lesser kudu rarely prefers Acacia species and does not stand on its hindlegs while feeding.  The lesser kudu does not have a great requirement for water, and can browse in arid environments.  It eats succulent plants, such as the wild sisal, Sansevieria , and Euphorbia species in the dry season, and drinks water when sources are available.  
Both the males and females become sexually mature by the time they are a year and a half old. However, males actually mate after the age of four to five years.  Males and females are most reproductive till the age of 14 and 14–18 years, respectively, with the maximum age of successful lactation in females being 13–14 years.  With no fixed breeding season, births may occur at any time of the year. A study at Dvůr Králové Zoo (Czech Republic) showed that 55% of the births occurred between September and December.  A rutting male tests the urine of any female he encounters, to which the female responds by urinating. Having located a female in estrus, the male follows her closely, trying to rub his cheek on her rump, head, neck, and chest. He performs gasping movements with his lips. Finally, the male mounts the female, resting his head and neck on her back, in a similar way as other tragelaphines.  
The gestational period is 7-8 months, after which a single calf is born. A female about to give birth isolates herself from her group, and remains alone for some days afterward. The newborn calf weighs 4–7.5 kg (8.8–16.5 lb). Around 50% of the calves die within the first six months of birth, and only 25% can survive after three years. In a study at Basle Zoo (Switzerland), where 43% of the offspring from captive breeding died before reaching the age of six months, the major causes of high juvenile mortality were found to be the spread of white muscle disease and deficiency of vitamin E and selenium in diets. The herd size, sex, interbreeding, and season did not play any role in juvenile mortality.  The mother hides her calf while she goes out to feed, and returns mainly in the evening to suckle her young. She checks the calf's identity by sniffing its rump or neck. In the first month, suckling may occur for 8 minutes. The mother and calf communicate with low bleats. She licks her offspring, particularly in the perineal region, and may consume its excreta.  
The lesser kudu inhabits dry bushland regions.  It is closely associated with Acacia and Commiphora thornbush in semiarid areas of northeastern Africa. The animal avoids open areas and long grass, preferring shaded areas with short grasses instead.  Found in woodlands and hilly areas, as well, the lesser kudu is generally found at altitudes below 1,200 m (3,900 ft);  though they have been recorded at heights about 1,740 m (5,710 ft) near Mount Kilimanjaro.  While individual home ranges of these animals are 0.4–6.7 km2 (4,300,000–72,000,000 sq ft) in size, those of males have an average size of 2.2 km2 (24,000,000 sq ft) and those of females 1.8 km2 (19,000,000 sq ft). 
The lesser kudu is native to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, but it is extinct in Djibouti.  Largely confined to the Horn of Africa today, the species historically ranged from Awash (Ethiopia) southward through southern and eastern Ethiopia, and most parts of Somalia (except the north and the northeast) and Kenya (except the southwest). It also occurred in southeastern Sudan and northeastern and eastern parts of Uganda and Tanzania. Evidence for its existence in the Arabian peninsula includes a set of horns obtained in 1967 from an individual shot in South Yemen and another in Saudi Arabia, as well as a recent analysis of early and middle Holocene rock art sites in Jubbah and Shuwaymis, Ha'il province, Saudi Arabia.  
The lesser kudu's shyness and its ability to camouflage itself in dense cover has protected it from the risks of poaching. For instance, the lesser kudu is widespread in the Ogaden region, which is rich in dense bush, despite reckless hunting by local people.  However, rinderpest outbreaks, to which the lesser kudu is highly susceptible, have resulted in a steep decline of 60% in the animal's population in Tsavo National Park in Kenya.  Overgrazing, human settlement, and loss of habitat are some other threats to the survival of the lesser kudu. 
The total population of the lesser kudu has been estimated to be nearly 118,000, with a decreasing trend in populations. The rate of decline has increased to 20% over two decades. Presently, the IUCN rates the lesser kudu as "near threatened".  Around a third of the population of the lesser kudu occurs in protected areas such as Awash, Omo and Mago National Parks (Ethiopia); Lag Badana National Park (Somalia); Tsavo National Park (Kenya); Ruaha National Park and game reserves (Tanzania), though it occurs in larger numbers outside these areas.  Population density rarely exceeds 1/km2., and is generally much lower. 
The handsome head of the male lesser kudu, with his elegant spiraled horns, is the symbol of the Saint Louis Zoo.
The bongo is a large, mostly nocturnal, forest-dwelling antelope, native to sub-Saharan Africa. Bongos are characterised by a striking reddish-brown coat, black and white markings, white-yellow stripes and long slightly spiralled horns. It is the only tragelaphid in which both sexes have horns. Bongos have a complex social interaction and are found in African dense forest mosaics. They are the third-largest antelope in the world.
The springbok or springbuck is a medium-sized antelope found mainly in south and southwest Africa. The sole member of the genus Antidorcas, this bovid was first described by the German zoologist Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmermann in 1780. Three subspecies are identified. A slender, long-legged antelope, the springbok reaches 71 to 86 cm at the shoulder and weighs between 27 and 42 kg. Both sexes have a pair of black, 35-to-50 cm (14-to-20 in) long horns that curve backwards. The springbok is characterised by a white face, a dark stripe running from the eyes to the mouth, a light-brown coat marked by a reddish-brown stripe that runs from the upper fore leg to the buttocks across the flanks like the Thomson's gazelle, and a white rump flap.
The term antelope is used to refer to many species of even-toed ruminant that are indigenous to various regions in Africa and Eurasia.
The lowland nyala or simply nyala, is a spiral-horned antelope native to southern Africa. It is a species of the family Bovidae and genus Tragelaphus, previously placed in genus Nyala. It was first described in 1849 by George French Angas. The body length is 135–195 cm (53–77 in), and it weighs 55–140 kg (121–309 lb). The coat is maroon or rufous brown in females and juveniles, but grows a dark brown or slate grey, often tinged with blue, in adult males. Females and young males have ten or more white stripes on their sides. Only males have horns, 60–83 cm (24–33 in) long and yellow-tipped. It exhibits the highest sexual dimorphism among the spiral-horned antelopes. It is not to be confused with the endangered mountain nyala living in the Bale region of Ethiopia).
The klipspringer is a small antelope found in eastern and southern Africa. The sole member of its genus and subfamily/tribe, the klipspringer was first described by German zoologist Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmermann in 1783. The klipspringer is a small, sturdy antelope; it reaches 43–60 centimetres at the shoulder and weighs from 8 to 18 kilograms. The coat of the klipspringer, yellowish gray to reddish brown, acts as an efficient camouflage in its rocky habitat. Unlike most other antelopes, the klipspringer has a thick and coarse coat with hollow, brittle hairs. The horns, short and spiky, typically measure 7.5–9 cm.
The kudus are two species of antelope of the genus Tragelaphus:
The sitatunga, sometimes called the marshbuck, is a swamp-dwelling medium-sized antelope found throughout central Africa, centering on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, parts of Southern Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Burundi, Ghana, Botswana, Rwanda, Zambia, Gabon, the Central African Republic, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. The sitatunga is mostly confined to swampy and marshy habitats. Here they occur in tall and dense vegetation as well as seasonal swamps, marshy clearings in forests, riparian thickets and mangrove swamps.
The mountain nyala or balbok, is a large antelope found in high altitude woodlands in a small part of central Ethiopia. It is a monotypic species first described by English naturalist Richard Lydekker in 1910. The males are typically 120–135 cm (47–53 in) tall while females stand 90–100 cm (35–39 in) at the shoulder. Males weigh 180–300 kg (400–660 lb) and females weigh 150–200 kg (330–440 lb). The coat is grey to brown, marked with two to five poorly defined white strips extending from the back to the underside, and a row of six to ten white spots. White markings are present on the face, throat and legs as well. Males have a short dark erect crest, about 10 cm (3.9 in) high, running along the middle of the back. Only males possess horns.
The greater kudu is a large woodland antelope, found throughout eastern and southern Africa. Despite occupying such widespread territory, they are sparsely populated in most areas due to declining habitat, deforestation, and poaching. The greater kudu is one of two species commonly known as kudu, the other being the lesser kudu, T. imberbis.
The common eland, also known as the southern eland or eland antelope, is a large-sized savannah and plains antelope found in East and Southern Africa. It is a species of the family Bovidae and genus Taurotragus. An adult male is around 1.6 m (5.2 ft) tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 942 kg (2,077 lb) with a typical range of 500–600 kg (1,100–1,300 lb), 340–445 kg (750–981 lb) for females). It is the second-largest antelope in the world, being slightly smaller on average than the giant eland. It was scientifically described by Peter Simon Pallas in 1766.
The giant eland, also known as the Lord Derby's eland and greater eland, is an open-forest and savanna antelope. A species of the family Bovidae and genus Taurotragus, it was described in 1847 by John Edward Gray. The giant eland is the largest species of antelope, with a body length ranging from 220–290 cm (87–114 in). There are two subspecies: T. d. derbianus and T. d. gigas.
The sable antelope is a large antelope which inhabits wooded savanna in East and Southern Africa, from the south of Kenya to South Africa, with a separated population in Angola.
The scimitar oryx, also known as the scimitar-horned oryx and the Sahara oryx, is a Oryx species that was once widespread across North Africa. In 2000, it was declared extinct in the wild on the IUCN Red List.
The hirola, also called the Hunter's hartebeest or Hunter's antelope, is a critically endangered antelope species found on the border between Kenya and Somalia. It was first described by the big game hunter and zoologist H.C.V. Hunter in 1888. It is the only living member of the genus Beatragus, though other species are known from the fossil record. The global hirola population is estimated at 300–500 animals and there are none in captivity. According to a document produced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature "the loss of the hirola would be the first extinction of a mammalian genus on mainland Africa in modern human history".
The gerenuk, also known as the giraffe gazelle, is a long-necked, medium-sized antelope found in parts of East Africa. The sole member of the genus Litocranius, the gerenuk was first described by the naturalist Victor Brooke in 1879. It is characterised by its long, slender neck and limbs. The antelope is 80–105 centimetres tall, and weighs between 18 and 52 kilograms. Two types of colouration are clearly visible on the smooth coat: the reddish brown back or the "saddle", and the lighter flanks, fawn to buff. The horns, present only on males, are lyre-shaped. Curving backward then slightly forward, these measure 25–44 cm.
The bohor reedbuck is an antelope native to central Africa. The animal is placed under the genus Redunca and in the family Bovidae. It was first described by German zoologist and botanist Peter Simon Pallas in 1767. The bohor reedbuck has five subspecies. The head-and-body length of this medium-sized antelope is typically between 100–135 cm (39–53 in). Males reach approximately 75–89 cm (30–35 in) at the shoulder, while females reach 69–76 cm (27–30 in). Males typically weigh 43–65 kg (95–143 lb) and females 35–45 kg (77–99 lb). This sturdily built antelope has a yellow to grayish brown coat. Only the males possess horns which measure about 25–35 cm (9.8–13.8 in) long.
The dibatag, or Clarke's gazelle, is a medium-sized slender antelope native to Ethiopia and Somalia. Though not a true gazelle, it is similarly marked, with long legs and neck. It is often confused with the gerenuk due to their striking resemblance. The typical head-and-body length is about 103 to 117 cm. They stand up to about 80 to 90 cm. Male dibatag weigh between 20 and 35 kg, whereas females range from 22 and 29 kg. The length of the curved horns, present only on males, is typically between 10 and 25 cm. The upper parts are gray to fawn, while the dorsal and lateral areas are cinnamon to rufous. The underparts, rump and the insides of the legs are all white. While markings are visible on the face, there are none on the flanks or the buttocks.
Taurotragus is a genus of large antelopes of the African savanna, commonly known as elands. It contains two species: the common eland T. oryx and the giant eland T. derbianus.
The tribe Tragelaphini, or the spiral-horned antelopes, are bovines that are endemic to sub-Saharan Africa. These include the bushbucks, kudus, and the elands. The scientific name is in reference to the mythical creature the tragelaph, a Chimera with the body of a stag and the head of a goat. They are medium-to-large, tall, long-legged antelopes characterized by their iconic twisted horns and striking pelage coloration patterns.
The Northern Acacia–Commiphora bushlands and thickets are a tropical grasslands, savannas and shrublands ecoregion in eastern Africa. The ecoregion is mostly located in Kenya, extending north into southeastern South Sudan, northeastern Uganda and southwestern Ethiopia and south into Tanzania along the Kenya-Tanzania border.