As its name suggests, the reedbuck is an antelope with very special habitat requirements; occurring in reedbeds and areas of long, often flooded, grasslands, always within easy reach of a permanent water source.
Rams are slightly larger than the ewes, standing approximately 90cm high and weighing as much as 80kg. Only the males carry horns, that normally reach lengths of around 38cm.
Reedbuck live alone, in pairs or in small family groups within a territory defended by a mature ram, while the ewes dictate where and when the group moves. They graze mostly from dusk to dawn, preferring to hide in shady reedbeds and patches of long grass during daylight hours. They are not very fast nor agile, and rely heavily on camouflage to evade predators (all of Africa’s large meat-eaters prey on reedbuck). Ewes give birth to single lambs, mostly in the rainy season, and hide them away for two to four months before joining up with the family group again.
In South Africa, the reedbuck occurs mostly in the wetter eastern part of the country. While there’s a small population of reedbuck in the Kruger National Park (sightings there are special treats), the country’s (and probably the continent’s) biggest concentrations can be found along the shores of Lake Saint Lucia, in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in Kwazulu-Natal Province. We’ll share some photos from our December visit to the Western Shores of Lake St. Lucia with you in our regular Friday post this week.