Natural Histories

photograph of a Sunda Pangolin

Lord Derby or Giant Eland

Taurotragus derbianus


The Lord Derby eland has a sandy grey pelage with 8-12 whitish vertical stripes on the sides. The ears and hocks have black markings. This large antelope species has a shoulder height of 130-180 cm and can grow to be 210-345 cm long. Both males and females have massive, spiraled horns, the horns of males tends to be 123 cm while the horns of females are only 66 cm. Males tend to be larger than females; males weigh 400-1000 kg while females weigh 300-600 kg. The mature male lord derby eland have black neck with a large dewlap from the chin to the chest.


This species can be found from Senegal throughout southern Sudan. Giant eland prefer mountainous regions with altitudes up to 4500 meters above sea level. They spend their time in sparse forests during the day and spend the morning and evening in savannahs and grasslands.

Feeding Behavior and Diet

Feeding takes place in the morning and evening, searching the savannah and grassland for food. The diet of the giant eland consists of leaves and fruits from trees, grasses, and herbs. Their horns are sometimes used to break branches to get better access to leaves of trees.


This species mates during the wet season. Dominant males mate with several females whose estrus cycle only lasts about 3 days. A single calf is produced 8-9 months after mating. Young are weaned 4-6 months after birth, at this time young leave their mothers permanently to join groups of juveniles. Young giant eland reach sexual maturity after 2 years.

Months and Times of Activity

During the day this species is found in sparse forests to escape the heat of the day. During the cooler mornings and evenings they can be found in the savannahs and grasslands feeding. Migratory movements of herds are determined by the wet seasons.

Special Features, Stories, Relationships

•    This species can be found in herds of about 25 individuals. A dominance hierarchy exists within these herds among males to determine mating access with females. Males use their horns        aggressively to determine their social position.
•    To read legends featuring this animal go to;
•    Children’s book featuring this animal: Flight of the eland by Roohi Shah


Altan, B. 2000. "Taurotragus derbianus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed November 04, 2014 at