Animal Facts

Red-Flanked Duiker

Scientific Name: Cephalophus rufilatus

Fast Fact:

Duiker in Afrikaans means diver and the red-flanked duiker are aptly named for their characteristic habit of diving for cover in the forest or bush. Duikers are sometimes called diving bucks.

Red-Flanked Duiker

The scent glands below their eyes are used for marking their territory and each other and there is considerable mutual grooming. They live singly or in pairs. When necessary they will fight with blunt strokes of the forehead to instill injury with their short horns.

STATUS: Red-flanked duikers are listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The major threat to their survival is hunting for the bushment trade.

HABITAT: The red-flanked duiker inhabits areas from Senegal in West Africa eastward to Cameroon, Sudan and Uganda. It is more likely to live on the edges of the forest than other duikers. 

DIET: Duikers are considered browsers in that they mainly eat leaves, fruits, shoots, buds seeds and bark and will sometimes climb on low logs to reach their food. They may also consume small birds, rodents, insects and carrion and even though they are mainly browsers, they are able to digest the animal protein well.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Duikers have the perfect shape for diving for cover in the forest; they are short, with arched backs and have forelegs that are shorter than their hind legs. The red-flanked duiker is small, approximately 30 inches (head and body length), with a height of 14 inches and weight to 24 pounds. Both males and females have horns that are two to three inches long that are often hidden in a tuft of hair that grows between the horns. The horns are short and straight. They are reddish chestnut in color with a dark stripe on the back from the nose to the tail. Their lower legs are darker than the body. The face is short with a rounded or humped bare nose. They have large scent glands beneath the eyes that include a series of pores rather than of a single opening. Their brain relative to size is larger than all of the antelopes. The tail of the duiker has a tassel. They have a hesitant high stepping or bouncing gait with sharp eyes and a good sense of hearing and smell.

Reproduction and Growth

Breeding and births tend to occur year round as young animals have been seen during the wet and dry season. Gestation is about five and one-half months. Duikers are considered precocial but are concealed in vegetation by their mother for several weeks after birth. They are sexually mature when they are about one year old, but probably do not breed until later. Lifespan in captivity can be over 15 years.

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