Interesting Facts About the Bushbuck

The Bushbuck, also known as the Cape Bushbuck, Imbabala, and Tragelaphus sylvaticus, is a common antelope species present throughout sub-Saharan Africa. It resembles the Harnessed Bushbuck, its close relative, due to the same body color. These two antelope species have been observed to be more closely related than any other species.

This species was first described by Prussian Zoologist Peter Simon Pallas in 1766 and later re-described by Swedish naturalist Anders Sparrman in 1780.

Today, habitat loss is considered as the Bushbuck’s biggest threat. Their breeding space decreases with the continuous rise and expansion of the human population, resulting in habitat loss caused by agricultural infrastructures, human settlements, and the building of roads.

However, it was observed that Bushbucks have a greater extent than any other species to coexist with human habitation. Humans hunt Bushbucks for their skin, which makes a great supple, thin, and quality leather. Back in the day, the local hunting pressure has once driven their population in a decrease. They are also perceived as pests because they tend to destroy public and private gardens. Despite these threats, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorized this antelope species as Least Concern.

Its eight levels of scientific classification are as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Artiodactyla

Family: Bovidae

Subfamily: Bovinae

Genus: Tragelaphus

Species: T. sylvaticus

The physical characteristics of a Bushbuck

Though they resemble a lot, the Bushbuck is larger than a Harnessed Bushbuck. The Bushbuck’s coloration varies with geography and habitat type as well. Bushbucks from Angola, Zambia, the southern Democratic Republic of the Congo, northern Zimbabwe, and Botswana have white horizontal stripes and scattered splotches.

Bushbucks who live In Gregory Rift Highlands, Mount Elgon, Ethiopian Highlands, and the Imatong Mountains are larger than the average, with very dark reddish-brown color and no stripes and spots.

The Bushbuck has a shoulder height of 90 cm and weighs 45 to 80 kg. It usually has white prints all over the body, particularly in the chin, ears, legs, tail, and neck. Its muzzle is also white in color. When a young male reaches 10 months old, it will grow horns that form a spiral over time.

The distribution and habitat of a Bushbuck

Bushbucks are present in central and southern Africa, particularly in Cape in South Africa, Angola, Zambia, Botswana, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, DRC, southern Sudan, and Somalia. These antelopes take refuge in a wide range of habitats such as montane forests, rain forests, forest-savanna mosaics, bush savanna forests, and woodland savannahs. If you want to witness this Bushbuck, you can also find them in local parks and safaris such as the Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique.

The behavior of a Bushbuck

Bushbucks live within an area, which measures around 50,000 square meters on their preferred habitat. These animals would usually settle within this area, never leaving unless food resources are scarce. Their living areas usually overlap with other home areas. Even so, they rarely become in contact with each other because they prefer to stay by themselves. They are considered solitary animals, with males minding their businesses and staying away from each other.

Bushbucks are usually active during the early morning and partly at night. On areas where sources of disturbance are limited, Bushbucks typically remain nocturnal.

They are considered as the least social of all African antelope species. Except for a female Bushbuck and her young, most group formations are temporary that lasts for a few hours or days. They are not as territorial as other antelopes, but males will defend female Bushbucks that are in heat.

After the female Bushbuck gives birth to a calf, it will clean and hide the newborn young. It will go great lengths to keep the newborn calf from danger. The female will occasionally visit the young to eat its dung, so no scent remains to attract the predators. The female Bushbuck and its young often play together, running and chasing each other around the area.

The diet of a Bushbuck

A Bushbuck’s preference for food varies in its habitat, with leguminous shrubs and herbs making up the most of its diet. It feeds on plant materials such as grass, acacia pods, tubers, fallen fruits, barks, and flowers. The Bushbuck needs water for nourishment, but it can survive on dew if necessary.