Natural Histories

photograph of a Sunda Pangolin

Greater Kudu

Tragelaphus strepsiceros


The greater kudu is one of the tallest species of antelope; it can reach a shoulder height of 100-150 cm. Sexual dimorphism (difference between males and females) is shown with the presence of a beard and horns in the males. These have long, spiraling horns averaging 120 cm in length; these horns are the largest of the bushbuck tribe. The body color of this species varies from a reddish brown to a blue-gray. The color of males tends to darken with age. There are six to ten white stripes along the back of the greater kudu while the tail has a white underside and black tip.


The greater kudu is found in southern and eastern Africa. This animal can live in a variety of habitats with good bush and thicket cover. In the rainy seasons, the greater kudu can be found in the deciduous woodlands and during the dry season it can be found along the banks of rivers.

Feeding Behavior and Diet

Greater kudu are herbivores, consuming only vegetative materials. They consume a variety of leaves, herbs, fruits, vines, flowers, and new grasses. This species is capable of surviving in regions without water during the dry seasons.


This species is a seasonal breeder. Mating occurs near or after the end of the rainy season. Nine months after mating, calves are born during the rainy season (February to June). During the rainy season the grasses are high, allowing the calves to remain hidden for two weeks after birth until it is able to join the herd. Calves are weaned after six months. Male greater kudu reach sexual maturity after five years of age. Female greater kudu do not reach sexual maturity until two years of age if they are healthy, however, most females do not reproduce until they are three years of age.

Months and Times of Activity

During the rainy season the greater kudu stay in the deciduous woodlands. During the dry season the greater kudu is found along river banks because there is more vegetation found there. Females live in maternal herds of 1-3 individuals with no hierarchical ranking within the herds. Female groups sometimes join to form larger, temporary herds. Males typically live in bachelor herds with 2-10 individuals. Male and female herds only associate during mating season.

Special Features, Stories, Relationships

•    Predators of the greater kudu include lions, leopards, wild dogs, and spotted hyenas.

•    There are not many northern populations of greater kudu because of an increased human population imposing on their habitat.

•    Southern populations  of greater kudu tend to be darker in color.

•    To read legends featuring this animal go to;

•    Children’s book featuring this animal: Tortoise and Gazelle by Enenge A ‘Bodjedl


Newell, T. 1999. "Tragelaphus strepsiceros" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed November 04, 2014 at