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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Kudu

Afrikaans name: Koedoe

Kudu

Magnificent male Kudu

Photo © Steven Herbert

Tragelaphus strepsiceros

Interesting facts about Kudu

The Kudu, as it is known in South Africa, is referred to as the Greater Kudu elsewhere to separate it from the Lesser Kudu.

Male Kudus are larger than females and have magnificent spiral shaped horns. A male Kudu can weigh up to 270 kgs while females weigh around 200 kg. Male Kudus only start developing horns when they are at least 6 months old. By the time they are 6 years old the horns are fully developed and are around 1.2 metres in length.

They are brownish in colour and have a number of vertical white stripes along their bodies. There is a white bar between the eyes. They have large rounded ears. They are normally found in, or near, dense bush through which they can run surprisingly fast. The male lifts his head to lay his horns against his back as he runs through the bushes.

Kudus may drink from waterholes but they also take in water by eating roots and bulbs. Their normal diet consists of leaves, grass and shoots.

Kudus are preyed on by Lions, Leopards and Wild Dogs.

A Kudu herd normally consists of up to 20 individuals. Males may be seen by themselves or in small bachelor herds.

Click here to see a comparison of Kudu and Nyala.

A young male Kudu

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - A young male Kudu whose horns haven't fully developed

Below - A female Kudu


A female Kudu

Photo © Steven Herbert

A magnificent male Kudu

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - Male Kudus are magnificent creatures! This particular male was photographed at Tala Game Reserve. Something that always amazes me is how they manage to run so fast through thick bush with those horns.

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References and further reading

African Wildlife - A photographic safari - Author: Nigel and Wendy Dennis - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 50

An Introduction to the Larger Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Joanna Dalton - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 269

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 15

Chris and Tilde Stuart's Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Year Published: 1988 - Page: 186

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Year Published: 2004 - Page: 169

Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Year Published: 1997 - Page: 114

Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Year Published: 2001 - Page: 186

Field Guide to the Mammals of the Kruger National Park - Author: U. de V. Pienaar et al. - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 134

Kruger National Park Questions and Answers - Author: P.F. Fourie - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 127

Land Mammals of Southern Africa - A field guide - Author: Reay HN Smithers - Year Published: 1986 - Page: 190

Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Burger Cillier - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 135

Mammals of the Kruger and other National Parks - Author: The National Parks Board - Year Published: 1980 - Page: 140

Questions and Answers - Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Year Published: 1990 - Page: 9

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 415

Sasol First Field Guide to Animal Tracks of Southern Africa - Author: Louis Liebenberg - Year Published: 2003 - Page: 51

Signs of the Wild - 3rd Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Year Published: 1986 - Page: 215

Signs of the Wild - 5th Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Year Published: 1996 - Page: 198

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 292

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 222

List of South African Mammals

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