Photo credit: Peter Bernstein, who photographed this red duiker in Hluhluwe Game Reserve, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa.
SIZE: Shoulder height 43 cm, mass 14 kg. Both sexes have horns, usually about 6 cm long.
COLOUR: Rich reddish-brown, with paler underparts. Chin and throat are whitish as are the insides of the ears. A tuft of reddish-brown and black hairs rises between the short horns. The tail is white-tipped.
POTENTIAL LONGEVITY: 9 years
RECORD LENGTH OF HORNS: 11 cm
MOST LIKE: The Common Duiker, but is smaller and distinguished from it by its reddish colouring. The red duiker favours a denser bush habitat.
HABITAT: Forest and dense bush, whether coastal or mountainous, as long as surface water is available.
Red duikers roam singly, in pairs, in small family groups, or in a loose asociation of 3 – 5 individuals. They browse, mostly after dark, on the leaves, stems and fruits of low-growing shrubs: they are concentrate feeders, as they cannot digest fibre very well. Their cry, mid-way between a snort and a whistle, is loud and penetrating. When the duiker is in danger or has been spotted, it will freeze, and then bound away with the charactristic duiker diving motion into the safety of thick undergrowth.
The red duiker is preyed on by eagles and pythons as well as leopards and other predators. When the duiker is in distress, its call becomes a throaty cry. The duiker’s biggest threat is the clearing of its natural habitat, either for agriculture or human habitation. When the young are born, they are a reddish-black, with a reddish-brown face. Usually a single lamb is born, at any time of year.
The Red Duiker, or Natal Duiker, has a hunched appearance and tends to be shy and secretive. Its hindlegs are in a crouched position: an advantage when the duiker wants to take flight upon sensing danger.
WILDLIFE PARKS AND RESERVES WHERE THIS SPECIES IS FOUND:
• Hluhluwe Game Reserves
• Kalahari Gemsbok Park
• Kruger National Park
• St Lucia Wetlands