Lesser Kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis)

Lesser Kudu are slimly built Antelope with an overall light brown and more orange in the lower legs. Black and white on the inside and rear of the legs. Several white stripes down their flanks. Two white patches on the throat and white stripes in front of the eyes. Muzzle and lower lip are also white. Ears are large. Rams are darker than females and only Rams have horns, which are long, V-shaped and spiralled. Similar to the larger Greater Kudu, which lack white throat patches. Males weigh approximately 16 stone (100Kg) and females 9 stone (60Kg). They are approximately 39" (100cm) at the shoulder.

Lesser Kudu are more often seen in Kenya's Meru NP, Tsavo National Parks, Samburu NP and Turkana. They prefer dry, arid regions with plenty of cover, favouring Acacia woodlands or dense shrub. They are well camoflaged and difficult to see.

Breeding is at any time of the year, but favoured for births to coincide with the rainy season. Single Lesser Kudu fawns are dropped, weighing approximately 15lbs (7Kg), after a gestation period of 31 weeks. New born fawns are kept in hiding for several weeks, the mother returning in the evenings, to suckle. Lesser Kudu become sexually mature at 18 months old, but males are unlikely to mate until their 4th year. Lesser Kudu live for up to 14 years in the wild.

The main predators of Lesser Kudu are humans, for meat. Most are now found in protected areas. Other main predators are African Wild Dogs, Leopards, Hyena and occasionally Lion.

Lesser Kudu are shy animals, preferring to stay within the confines of thick bush or forest. Males are loners, avoiding the company of other males. Ewes and fawns are often seen in small groups. No territorial behaviour is shown. When the breeding season starts, rams smell the urine of females with curled-up lips (the Flehmen Response) before mating.
They cover home ranges that are up to 3 square kilometers and young males cover larger distances, seeking solitude within their range. They can be completely independent of water, gaining moisture through their selection of food. Mostly active during the cooler hours of the day and during the night, resting or travelling during the heat of the day.

Lesser Kudu are mostly browsers, eating leaves, flowers, fruit and seed pods. They also graze during the rainy season, but are very selective, only grazing when the grass is green. Being ruminants, they chew the cud during the heat of the day.

Other Lesser Kudu Facts
Lesser Kudu are accomplished jumpers, being able to clear 6' 6" feet (2 metres) high.
The Lesser Kudu's call is similar to a Bushbuck's 'bark'.

Images taken in Kenya's Meru NP and Tsavo East NP.

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:animal, antelope, kenya, kudu, lesser kudu, wildlife

Lesser Kudu ~ Female

A female (ewe) Lesser Kudu, seen in Kenya's Tsavo East National Park.  Hiding under an Acacia bush, during the heat of the day.

Lesser Kudu ~ Male

A male (ram) Lesser Kudu, seen in Kenya's Meru National Park.  Hiding beneath an Acacia tree.