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Lesser Kudu

Male Lesser Kudu
Male Lesser Kudu
Photographer: Steve

Male Lesser Kudu
Male Lesser Kudu
Photographer: Malcolm

Female Lesser Kudu
Female Lesser Kudu

Latin Name Tragelaphus imberbis
Conservation Status Near Threatened
Location East Africa
Colour Grey-brown (males) Chestnut (females)
Length 1.1 - 1.7 m (3.6 - 5.6 ft)
Tail 26 - 30 cms (10 - 12 inches)
Weight 50 - 90 kgs (110 - 200 lbs)
Life Expectancy Up to 10 Yrs (wild)
Up to 15 Yrs (in Captivity)

Main Characteristics

The Lesser Kudu is a forest antelope and there are a number of differences between males and females including size, colouring, hair and horns. Males typically weigh between 60 - 90 kgs (130 - 200 lbs) and are grey brown in colour. Males also have a small mane and horns approximately 70 cm (28 inches) long. Females are slightly smaller at between 50 to 70 kgs (110 - 150 lbs). Their fur is a chestnut colour and they lack the horns and mane of males. Both male and female Lesser Kudu have distinctive white stripes on their backs, usually between 11 and 14, and two white tufts on the underside of their necks.

Lesser kudu are fantastic athletes as they are able to jump distances of more than 9 m (30 ft), and more than 2.5 m (8.2 ft) high. They can also reach speeds of around 62 mph (100 km/h).


The Lesser Kudu is primarily nocturnal and they inhabit dry, flat, and densely thicketed areas as well as woodlands and hilly land in east Africa. They are rarely seen in open or cleared areas of land.

They live in small groups. Young males leave their mother usually within two years and go on to travel alone or in all-male groups. Females form small groups which can be made up of mothers and female siblings.


The Lesser Kudu eats a wide range of vegetation including bush and tree leaves, shoots, twigs, grasses, herbs and fruit. They are reasonably independent of water, and they manage to survive in relatively arid environments by effectively processing the liquids found in the plants they eat.


The Lesser Kudu becomes sexually mature at just over a year old, however, males do not gain social status to reproduce until they reach the age of 4 - 5 years of age.

Gestation ranges from 7.5 to 8 months and when the female gives birth she temporarily separates from the group. Only one offspring is produced, weighing 4 - 7.5 kg. Around 50 per cent of the calves die within the first six months, from either disease or predation and only 25 per cent of Lesser Kudu make it to 3 years of age.


The main predators of the Lesser Kudu are lions, leopards, african wild dogs, hyenas, eagles, pythons and humans.


There are no subspecies of the Lesser Kudu.

Interesting Facts

At one time it was believed the Lesser Kudu had naturally inhabited Saudi Arabia. However it was later discovered the animals had been brought there in the 1960s for hunting expeditions.

When alarmed the Lesser Kudu emits a bark to warn others of nearby dangers.

Similar Animals

Greater Kudu
Mountain Nyala


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