Red-flanked duiker

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Red-flanked duiker
Red-flanked duiker, Cephalophus rufilatus
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Genus: Cephalophus
C. rufilatus
Binomial name
Cephalophus rufilatus
Gray, 1846
Cephalophus rufilatus2.png
Distribution of red-flanked duiker duiker

The red-flanked duiker (Cephalophus rufilatus) is a species of small antelope found in western and central Africa in countries as far apart as Senegal and Sudan. [2] Red-flanked duikers grow to almost 15 in (35 cm) in height and weigh up to 31 lb (14 kg). They have russet coats, with greyish-black legs and backs, and white underbellies. They feed on leaves, fallen fruits, seeds and flowers, and sometimes twigs and shoots. The adults are territorial, living in savannah and lightly wooded habitats, and the females usually produce a single offspring each year. They have lifespans of ten to fifteen years in captivity.



The red-flanked duiker is one of the smallest species of antelope, growing to a height of about 34 to 37 centimetres (13 to 15 in) with a weight of around 12 to 14 kilograms (26 to 31 lb). The head and body are blackish-grey near the spine gradually blending into a reddish-brown colour on the neck and flanks. There are small white markings on the ears and snout and a dark streak runs along the centre of the face. A tuft of black hairs grows between the horns and further coarse dark hairs grow along the top of the neck. The legs are bluish-grey. [3] The sexes are in general similar in appearance but males have short backward-pointing horns up to 9 centimetres (3.5 in) long. Females are often hornless, or may have shorter horns. Both males and females have large preorbital glands on their snout in front of their eyes which form bulges in their cheeks. These are common to all members of the genus Cephalophus but they are larger in the red-flanked duiker than in other species. [4]

Distribution and habitat

The red-flanked duiker is native to West and Central Africa where its range extends from Senegal and the Gambia in the west to Sudan and the Nile Valley in the east. Its main habitat is open savannah woodlands [1] and the margins of forests but it also occurs in river basins with elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) or thick shrubby vegetation such as caperbushes (Capparis spp.) and tree acanthus (Acanthus arboreus). [4]


Red-flanked duikers are territorial and mainly solitary, with a single antelope or a pair occupying a small territory for a few months and then moving elsewhere. The territory is marked with secretions from their preorbital glands. [4] The duikers are most active in the early morning and shortly before dusk. They move about while browsing and keep a sharp lookout for possible predators; if startled, they lower their heads and dive into the nearest dense area of vegetation. They are hunted by a number of predators including leopards (Panthera pardus), crowned eagles (Stephanoaetus coronatus) and African rock pythons (Python sebae) but are also hunted by man, who probably kills more duikers than the other predators combined. [4]

The red-flanked duiker feeds on leaves and flowers and the fruits that fall from trees, and also browses on twigs growing within one metre (yard) of the ground. Favoured food species include the wild date palm ( Phoenix reclinata ), the African peach ( Nauclea latifolia ), the Cape fig ( Ficus capensis ), the wild bauhinia ( Piliostigma thonningii ), the adanme ( Mucuna flagellipes ), the hog plum ( Spondias mombin ), the barwood ( Pterocarpus erinaceus ), the mitzeeri ( Bridelia micrantha ), the wild African black plum ( Vitex doniana ), the African custard-apple ( Annona senegalensis ), the leafflower ( Phyllanthus muellerianus ), the monkey cola ( Cola millenii ), the ackee ( Blighia sapida ) and the beechwood ( Gmelina arborea ). As the red-flanked duiker eats the fruit of the Cape fig, African peach and wild date, it swallows the seeds. These pass through the gut and are present in the droppings and this is likely to be an important means of seed dispersal for these species. [4]

Both male and female red-flanked duikers mature at about nine months of age. The female comes into oestrus once a year and the gestation period is about eight months, with a single offspring being born in the dry season or near the start of the wet season. The newly-born juvenile weighs about 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) and quickly makes its way into concealing vegetation, only coming out when its mother returns to nurse it. Immediately after birth and when grooming its infant, the mother marks it with the secretions from her preorbital glands. It is weaned when it weighs about 9 kilograms (20 lb) and there is no further parental involvement. [4]


The red-flanked duiker is an adaptable species, and the removal of trees by logging and the conversion of its natural habitat into more open savannah and farmland has allowed it to increase its range. It is fairly common in the areas in which it is found though numbers are decreasing in general due to severe hunting pressure. [1] The red-flanked duiker was one of the four most frequent species of bushmeat on sale in the Republic of Guinea, along with Maxwell's duiker (Cephalophus maxwelli), the greater cane rat (Thryonomys swinderianus) and the bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus). [5] However it occurs in a number of reserves and protected areas where it is less liable to be killed for meat and the International Union for Conservation of Nature in its Red List of Threatened Species lists it as being of "Least Concern". [1]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Duiker</span> Subfamily of antelopes

A duiker is a small to medium-sized brown antelope native to sub-Saharan Africa, found in heavily wooded areas. The 22 extant species, including three sometimes considered to be subspecies of the other species, form the subfamily Cephalophinae or the tribe Cephalophini.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gerenuk</span> Long-necked species of antelope (Litocranius walleri)

The gerenuk, also known as the giraffe gazelle, is a long-necked 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Abbott's duiker</span> Species of mammal

The Abbott's duiker, also known as minde in Swahili, is a large, forest-dwelling duiker found only in a few scattered enclaves in Tanzania. It may be a subspecies of the yellow-backed duiker. It is very rare, and the first photograph of an Abbott's duiker in the wild was taken as recently as 2003.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bay duiker</span> Species of mammal

The bay duiker, also known as the black-striped duiker and the black-backed duiker, is a forest-dwelling duiker native to western and southern Africa. It was first described by British zoologist John Edward Gray in 1846. Two subspecies are identified. The bay duiker is reddish-brown and has a moderate size. Both sexes reach 44–49 cm (17–19 in) at the shoulder. The sexes do not vary considerably in their weights, either; the typical weight range for this duiker is 18–23 kg (40–51 lb). Both sexes have a pair of spiky horns, measuring 5–8 cm (2.0–3.1 in). A notable feature of this duiker is the well-pronounced solid stripe of black extending from the back of the head to the tail.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Blue duiker</span> Species of mammal

The blue duiker is a small antelope found in central, southern and eastern Africa. It is the smallest duiker. The species was first described by Swedish naturalist Carl Peter Thunberg in 1789. 12 subspecies are identified. The blue duiker reaches 32–41 centimetres (13–16 in) at the shoulder and weighs 3.5–9 kilograms (7.7–19.8 lb). Sexually dimorphic, the females are slightly larger than the males. The dark tail measures slightly above 10 centimetres (3.9 in). It has short, spiky horns, around 5 centimetres (2.0 in) long and hidden in hair tufts. The subspecies show a great degree of variation in their colouration. The blue duiker bears a significant resemblance to Maxwell's duiker.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jentink's duiker</span> Species of mammal

Jentink's duiker, also known as gidi-gidi in Krio and kaikulowulei in Mende, is a forest-dwelling duiker found in the southern parts of Liberia, southwestern Côte d'Ivoire, and scattered enclaves in Sierra Leone. It is named in honor of Fredericus Anna Jentink.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oribi</span> Species of mammal

The oribi is a small antelope found in eastern, southern and western Africa. The sole member of its genus, it was described by the German zoologist Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmermann in 1783. Eight subspecies are identified. The oribi reaches nearly 50–67 centimetres (20–26 in) at the shoulder and weighs 12–22 kilograms (26–49 lb). It possesses a slightly raised back, and long neck and limbs. The glossy, yellowish to rufous brown coat contrasts with the white chin, throat, underparts and rump. Only males possess horns; the thin, straight horns, 8–18 centimetres (3.1–7.1 in) long, are smooth at the tips and ringed at the base.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Suni</span> Species of antelope

The Suni is a small antelope. It occurs in dense underbrush from central Kenya to KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Common duiker</span> Species of mammal

The common duiker, also known as the grey or bush duiker, is a small antelope found everywhere in Africa south of the Sahara, excluding the Horn of Africa and the rainforests of the central and western parts of the continent. Generally, they are found in habitats with sufficient vegetation cover to allow them to hide—savanna and hilly areas, including the fringes of human settlements.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kirk's dik-dik</span> Species of mammal

Kirk's dik-dik is a small antelope native to Eastern Africa and one of four species of dik-dik antelope. It is believed to have six subspecies and possibly a seventh existing in southwest Africa. Dik-diks are herbivores, typically of a fawn color that aids in camouflaging themselves in savannah habitats. According to MacDonald (1985), they are also capable of reaching speeds up to 42 km/hour. The lifespan of Kirk's dik-dik in the wild is typically 5 years, but may surpass 10 years. In captivity, males have been known to live up to 16.5 years, while females have lived up to 18.4 years.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dibatag</span> Genus of mammals

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Black-fronted duiker</span> Species of mammal

The black-fronted duiker is a small antelope found in central and west-central Africa.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maxwell's duiker</span> Species of mammal

The Maxwell's duiker is a small antelope found in western Africa.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ruwenzori duiker</span> Species of mammal

The Ruwenzori duiker or Ruwenzori red duiker is a stocky but small antelope found only in the Ruwenzori Mountains between Uganda and, probably, the Democratic Republic of Congo. They may be a subspecies of the black-fronted duiker or the red-flanked duiker.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zebra duiker</span> Species of mammal

The zebra duiker is a small antelope found primarily in Liberia, as well as the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, and occasionally Guinea. They are sometimes referred to as the banded duiker or striped-back duiker. It is believed to be one of the earliest duiker species to have evolved.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yellow-backed duiker</span> Species of antelope

The yellow-backed duiker is a forest dwelling antelope in the order Artiodactyla from the family Bovidae. Yellow-backed duikers are the most widely distributed of all duikers. They are found mainly in Central and Western Africa, ranging from Senegal to Western Uganda with possibly a few in Gambia. Their range also extends southward into Rwanda, Burundi, Zaire, and most of Zambia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Red forest duiker</span> Species of mammal

The red forest duiker, Natal duiker, or Natal red duiker is a small antelope found in central to southern Africa. It is one of 22 extant species form the subfamily Cephalophinae. While the red forest duiker is very similar to the common duiker, it is smaller in size and has a distinguishing reddish coloring. Additionally, the red forest duiker favors a denser bush habitat than the common duiker. The Natal red duiker is more diurnal and less secretive than most forest duikers, so therefore it is easier for them to be observed. In 1999, red forest duikers had an estimated wild population of 42,000 individuals.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bates's pygmy antelope</span> Species of mammal

Bates's pygmy antelope, also known as the dwarf antelope, pygmy antelope or Bates' dwarf antelope, is a very small antelope living in the moist forest and brush of Central and West Africa. It is in the same genus as the suni.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Walter's duiker</span> Species of deer

Walter's duiker is a species of duiker found in Togo, Benin and Nigeria. It was described in 2010. Its name commemorates Professor Walter Verheyen, who was the first to obtain a specimen of this species of duiker from Togo in 1968.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Heuglin's gazelle</span> Species of mammal

Heuglin's gazelle, also known as the Eritrean gazelle, is a species of gazelle found east of the Nile River in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan. It was considered a subspecies of the red-fronted gazelle or conspecific with Thomson's gazelle and Mongalla gazelle by some authors in the past. This small gazelle stands nearly 67 cm (26 in) at the shoulder and weighs between 15 and 35 kg. The coat is dark reddish brown with a dark reddish stripe on the flanks, except for the underparts and the rump which are white. Horns, present in both sexes, measure 15 to 35 cm in length.


  1. 1 2 3 4 IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2016). "Cephalophus rufilatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2016: e.T4149A50183959. doi: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T4149A50183959.en . Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  2. Grubb, P. (2005). "Order Artiodactyla". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 714. ISBN   978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC   62265494.
  3. "Red-flanked duiker". Woodland Park Zoo. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Hanson, Benjamin (2006). "Cephalophus rufilatus: Red-flanked duiker". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  5. Brugiere, David; Magassouba, Bakary (2009). "Pattern and sustainability of the bushmeat trade in the Haut Niger National Park, Republic of Guinea". African Journal of Ecology. 47 (4): 630–639. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.2008.01013.x.