We’ve observed mating behavior over two male duikers pursuing one female in the past few weeks. They run fast through the property, leaping through the air; it’s a delight to see. We know one of the males, Derek, but not the other, and of course, it’s adorable Delilah, who often hangs out with us for hours.
The past few days, we spotted her hiding in the garden to avoid being chased by the two males, including this morning over a few hours. When I was showering, Tom took these included photos of one of the males attempting to mate with her, which didn’t appear successful.
Amazingly, female duikers are ready to mate at a young age, as indicated below from the Kruger National Park website.
What does Duiker eat?
Duiker browses a wide range of broad-leaved forbs, trees, and bushes; they eat fruit, pods and seeds, roots, bark, flowers, fungi, caterpillars and even nestling birds. In arid areas wild melons are eaten for their water content. They may be a problem in crops, orchards, vineyards and plantations.
- Weight (Female)
- 17 – 25 kg
- Weight (Male)
- 15 – 21 kg
- Length (Female)
- 110 cm
- Length (Male)
- 110 cm
- Gestation Period
- 6 months
- No of Young
- 1 lamb
- Sexual Maturity
- 8 months
- Birth Weight
- 175 g
- 10 cm (record – 18 cm)
The female will give birth to one young usually after a gestation period of around 6 months. Single lambs, very rarely twins, are born at any time of year, possibly with a peak in summer. Full grown at 7 months, females first mate as early as 8-9 months, and give birth at one year.
Mating system probably varies with locality and habitat from monogamous pairs to males with more than one female. Lambs are born at any time throughout the year. The female hides in very dense vegetation before giving birth.
Although the mother initially hides the young, they are well developed at birth and can run within twenty-four hours.
They are mainly active in late afternoon and into the night with other peak periods in the early morning hours. The males and females are territorial chasing away others only of the same sex Male and females tend to share territories but only come together for mating purposes They are probably the most successful bovid species in Africa.
The lifespan of a Duiker is 8-11 years. They are important prey for medium and large carnivores. They are solitary or a female with a lamb, they are rarely in male-female pairs. Scent-marks are produced by the preorbital glands and glands between the front hooves.
Where Duiker are Found
They do not occur in forests, although they will take refuge in forests when hiding from a predator. Widely distributed in Southern Africa, but absent from desert regions. The Common Duiker is usually seen at dawn and dusk in open scrub country. They avoid open grassland where there is no shelter. They are found throughout Africa south of the Sahara, except in the rain forests of Central Africa.
The Duiker avoids predators by lying quietly or freezing motionless and dashing away at the last moment if approached closely. Runs with a distinctive diving, zig-zag motion from which comes the name duiker, Afrikaans for diver. Uses its horns and sharp back hooves as defensive weapons.
The alarm call is a nasal snort, if caught bleats loudly, a sound that attracts other Duikers, and calls mothers to assist lambs. Lambs can run within a day of birth, but remain hidden in heavy cover, with the mother returning to suckle and clean them.
All the medium takes them to large predators but their main predators are Eagles, Leopard, Jackal and Python. Crocodile takes some.”
The only contradiction of duikers in Marloth Park is that we see them throughout the day and evening. But, life for wildlife is different in Marloth Park than in Kruger National Park and we often see our two most visible duikers, Delilah and Derek all day and evening. It appears they live here since we see them so often. If we are to gaze into the garden and nearby parkland for about 10 minutes, we always spot them.
From time to time, they may run across the dirt road but return a short time later, running and jumping through the air. They are shyer than other antelopes, but since they are used to being around humans in the park, it’s not unusual for us to see them only a few meters from us, looking for pellets. They don’t seem to care for the lucerne but love pellets even more than carrots, apples, and cabbage.
We’ve never been able to be so close to duikers in other holiday rentals in the park as we have been here. The house we are currently renting is Louise and Danie’s old house, and they, like us, spent lots of time outdoors, inviting wildlife to stop by. Now, we’ve enjoyed the benefits of their passion for wildlife.
Tonight, we’ll return to Jabula. Last night, I stepped “outside the box” and ordered spicy peri-peri chicken livers instead of grilled chicken or hake. It was a nice change, and I may do the same again tonight. As always, it was great to be with Dawn, Leon, and friend Sinndee whose husband (and our friend) Bruce passed away about three weeks ago.
Above all, stay well.
Photo from one year ago today, October 22, 2021: