Black duiker

Cephalophus niger TAXONOMY

Cephalophinus niger Gray, 1846, Ghana. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Cephalophus noir; German: Schwarzducker. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Heavily built antelope: length 31-42 in (80-90 cm); height 18-20 in (45-55 cm); weight 33-66 lb (15-20 kg). Glossy dark brown to black coat that pales to gray around the neck and chin. Undersides are lighter in color, often with an orange patch between the forelegs. Nose bridge and forelock reddish brown. Head is slightly elongated with straight pointed horns, 3-7 in (8.5-21 cm) in males and 1-1.2 in (2.5-3 cm) in females. Tail approximately 5 in (12.5 cm).


Found throughout lower West Africa, in Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Populations once found in the Kalakpa and Shai Hill reserves in central and southeastern Ghana have disappeared.


Found on the edges of forests, secondary forests, and in bushes and thickets of lowland tropical rainforest. May also frequent riverine galleries, isolated forest patches, and semi-deciduous forests.


Seldom observed in the wild, its behavior has not been well studied. There are conflicting reports about whether it is a nocturnal or diurnal species. A solitary animal.


Its saw-like teeth permit it to browse many different types of vegetation. In addition to feeding on fallen fruits and on the flowers, leaves, herbs of forest trees and shrubs, it will use its teeth to strip the bark from trees. Will sometimes eat insects and small birds.


Monogamous. Captive individuals indicate that the gestation period is 126 days, with an average of 7.5 months between births. Females give birth to a single offspring, which is weaned at six months.


Listed as a Lower Risk/Near Threatened species. In 1999, approximately 100,000 black duikers remained in Africa, and the population continued to decline.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS Hunted for the bushmeat trade. ♦

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