Weighs up to 70 Kg and rams have a 950mm shoulder height. Ewes are smaller and only measure 800 mm at the shoulders and weigh about 51 Kg. Pelage is grey-brown with white underpants. Tail is bushy and white tipped. Distinctive black hairless glandular patch below the ears. Only rams have horns of up to 450mm in length. Reedbuck have inguinal glands in the groin which secrete a waxy substance, rams have one pair and ewes sometimes two. These glands are related to territoriality.
They are primarily grazers selecting for grass. When grass is not available they will also take small quantities of herbs. When conditions are harsh they will feed during the day, although the species is primarily nocturnal in habit.
Ewes conceive first at the age of 15-18 months, and rams are sexually mature after two years. They breed throughout the year, but births tend to peak during summer. After a gestation period of 225 days a single lamb is born. Newly born lambs remain in hiding for up to three months, hence the reason for adequate cover in the habitat requirements.
This medium-sized antelope is found in small family units. When it runs it has a characteristic rocking gait, with tail up, and in the motion it shows the white underside. The Reedbuck is territorial. Ram partners defend the ranges of monogamous pairs against other rams. As ewes reach maturity they leave the family groups to form their own pair bonds. Young rams are tolerated and may remain in the group until their third year of life. The Reedbuck is a close relative of the Mountain Reedbuck.
This antelope’s natural habitat is wet grasslands. Unfortunately, this type of habitat has shrunk significantly, with a subsequent reduction in the number of Reedbuck.
Where they are found
Today, this antelope can be seen in the Kruger National Park, on the eastern shores of St.Lucia, in the Hluhluwe game reserve and a few other game reserves in KwaZulu-Natal.