Aepyceros melampus TAXONOMY

Antilope melampus (Lichtenstein, 1812), Cape Province, South Africa. Six subspecies.


French: Impala; German: Impala; Spanish: Impala.


Body length 4-5.3 ft (120-160 cm); shoulder height 2.5-3.1 ft (75-95 cm); tail 12-18 in (30-45 cm); 88-176 lb (40-80 kg); male larger than female. Horns 18-37 in (45-92 cm). Red brown coat with white chin, belly, tail. Black stripes down forehead, ear tips, thighs, and tail.


A. m. melampus: northeast South Africa to southeast Angola and south Malawi; A. m. johnstoni: north Mozambique, Malawi, eastern Zambia; A. m. katangae: southeast Democratic Republic of the Congo; A. m. petersi: southwest Angola, extreme northwestern Namibia; A. m. rendilis: Kenya, Uganda; A. m. suara: Tanzania, Rwanda.


Light open woodland and savanna. Prefers ecotones between open grassland and woodland; requires cover and surface water.


During the dry season, may congregate in hundreds. In the rains, females and young form herds of 10-100 individuals, males form groups of up to 60 bachelors. About 30% of males hold a territory of 0.07-0.3 mi2 (0.2-0.9 km2). During the breeding season, males make hoarse grunts ("roaring").

Predator avoidance techniques include making jumps up to 8 ft (2.5 m) high in any direction, often over bushes or even other impala, and fleeing into dense vegetation.


Feeds mostly on grass during and after the rains, but browses and eats some fruit and seeds during the dry season. Drinks at least once a day in the dry season.


Polygynous. Births occur throughout the year in equatorial Africa, peaking in wet seasons elsewhere. Estrous cycle 12-29 days, lasting 24-48 hours. Gestation 194-200 days. Weaning at 4.5-7 months. Females conceive at two years. Lifespan 15 years.


Lower Risk/Conservation Dependent. Introduced widely into areas outside their normal range in southern Africa, and rein-troduced to privately-owned land and reserves. The race petersi (black-faced impala) is Vulnerable as a result of habitat loss and degradation.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS Hunted mainly for meat. ♦

Common name / Scientific name/ Other common names

Physical characteristics

Habitat and behavior



Conservation status

Roan antelope Hlppotragus equlnus French: Antilope chevaline


Hippotragus leucophaeus German: Blauwbok

Scimitar-horned oryx Oryx dammah

French: Oryx de Libye; Spanish: Orix de cimitarra

Gemsbok Oryx gazella

Pelage is grayish brown with a hint of red. Legs are darker than rest of body, head is dark brown or black, white around mouth and nose, large white patches in front of eyes and pale patches behind them. Mane of short, stiff hair. Tail has a brush of black on the tip. Weight 495-660 lb (225300 kg).

Long, tall, parallel horns. Gray to bluish pelage. Sleek body with long, slender legs. Weight rarely over 355 lb (160 kg).

Coat is white on neck and bright russet on chest. Light wash of russet over flanks and thighs. Facial mask of vertical russet stripes through eyes and wide reddish nose strip. Long, tufted, dark brown tail. Two sickle-shaped horns found on both sexes. Head and body length 63-69 in (160-175 cm), shoulder height 43-50 in (110-125 cm), weight 395-440 lb (180-200 kg).

Dramatic facial masks with halter-like facial markings paired with white patches, black striping along sides near underbelly. Short mane runs from head to shoulders, ears are large and broad. Body is buffy tan to brown. Long horns, ringed on lower half. Weight 395-440 lb (180225 kg).

Lightly wooded savanna with medium to tall grass and access to water. Mostly active during cooler parts of day. Groups can consist of up to 35 individuals.

Grassy plains with adequate water sources. Group sizes consisted of up to 20 individuals.

Grassy steppes, semi-deserts, and deserts in a narrow strip of central northern Africa. In Sahara during wet season. Generally solitary, herds gather in wet season. Mixed herds of up to 70 individuals.

Arid areas, including dry steppe, brush, and tree savannas in flat and hilly areas, as well as semi-desert and desert. No particular breeding season. Groups consists of 30-40 individuals.

Senegal to western Ethiopia; south to northern South Africa, northern Botswana, and Namibia.

Southern Cape Province, South Africa.

Formerly western Sahara and Tunisia to Egypt; Mauritania to Sudan; now survives only as a naturalized population in Chad.

Northeastern Ethiopia and southeastern Sudan to Somalia, northeastern Uganda and northern Tanzania: southwestern Angola, Botswana, and western Zimbabwe to northern South Africa.

Leaves and shoots.

Grazers, eating mostly grasses and leaves.

Grasses, fruits, and leaves.

Grasses and herbs, juicy roots, fruits, melons, leaves, buds, and bulbs.

Lower Risk/




Extinct in the Wild

Lower Risk/




Common name / Scientific name/ Other common names

Physical characteristics

Habitat and behavior



Conservation status

Kobus kob

German: Kobantilopen

Lechwe Kobus leche

French: Cobe lechwe; German: Der Litschi; Spanish: Coco de lechwe

Hunter's hartebeest Damallscus hunterl English: Hirola


Damaliscus lunatus French: Damalisque; German: Leierantilope


Alcelaphus buselaphus German: Somali-Kuhantilope

Blue wildebeest Connochaetes taurinus English: Blue and white-bearded wildebeest; German: Streifengnu

Smooth, shiny coat varying from golden brown to chestnut above, underparts are bright white. White facial markings: eye rings, inside of ears, and throat. Bushy tails, S-shaped horns on males. Shoulder height 27-41 in (70-105cm), tail length 7.8-15.8 in (20-40 cm), weight 110-265 lb (50-120 kg).

Medium-sized antelopes, chestnut in color, underparts are white. White throat and facial markings. Dark leg and body markings, which vary from black to red. Thin horns are 17.7-36.2 in (45-92 cm) in length, weight 135-282 lb (61-128 kg).

Coat is light sandy brown, turning more gray in adult males. Two white lines form a chevron between the eyes, circles around eyes. Long, thick, white tail. White ears with black tips. Lyrate horns with heavy ridges. Head and body length 4779 in (120-200 cm), shoulder height 39-49 in (100-125 cm), tail length 11.8 -17.7 in (30-45 cm), weight 175-260 lb (80-118 kg).

Body is short, glossy, tan in color with purple spots underneath. Markings are either white or dark in color. Long, narrow muzzles. Horns are S-shaped and ringed, range in length from 11.8 to 15.8 in (30-40 cm). Height 41-46 in (104118 cm), weight 198-325 lb (90-147 kg).

Varies from pale brown to brownish gray. Large ungulate, steeply sloping back, long legs, tufted tail, and long, narrow rostrum. Head and body length 59-96 in (150-245 cm), weight 165-440 lb (75200 kg).

Adults may vary from deep slate or bluish gray to light gray or brown-gray. Under-parts are darker. Dark brawn, vertical bands on neck and forequarters. Slight hump above shoulders, slight slope toward rear. Long tail, black mane, flowing beard in both sexes. Head and body length 67-95 in (170-240 cm), shoulder height 45-57 in (115-145 cm), weight 308-640 lb (140-290 kg).

Well-watered areas (like floodplains) across central Africa. Males are territorial. Groups consist of maternal and bachelor groups of one to 40 individuals.

Areas of the flood plains that border swamps because they are close to water and food. May take refuge in forested areas. Spend most of time in groups consisting of bachelors or mothers and calves. Males may be territorial.

Arid, grassy plains bound by semi-desert inland and coastal forests on the southeastern coast of Kenya. Groups consists of females and their young and range from five to 40 individuals. Fairly sedentary.

Senegal to western Ethiopia and Sudan; south to northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Uganda, western Kenya, and northwestern Tanzania. Now extinct in Tanzania.

Northern Botswana, northeastern Namibia, southeastern Angola, southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zambia.

Mainly grasses.

Lower Risk/ Conservation Dependent

Nutritious grasses that are found in flooded meadows.

Lower Risk/ Conservation Dependent

Southern Somalia to northern Kenya.

Mainly grasses.

Critically Endangered

Prefers grassland habitats, including large treeless plains to areas with little bush and tree savannas. May sometimes be found in uplands, but usually found in the lowlands. Social organization varies regionally. Generally breed once a year.

Savannas and grasslands of Africa, as well as scrublands. Social animals, herds may consists of up to 300 individuals. Males are territorial. Sedentary.

Open and brush-covered savanna in south and east Africa. Groups consist of females and their young, ten to 1,000 individuals. Females give birth to one young per year. Males are territorial.

Formerly Mauritania and Senegal east to western Ethiopia and southern Somalia, and south to Tanzania; also Zambia to South Africa.

Senegal to Ethiopia, south to eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya and northern Tanzania; southern Angola, western Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. Extinct in northern Africa, Somalia, and much of its former South African range.

Southern Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia south to Angola, Namibia, Botswana, and northeastern South Africa. Extinct in Malawi.

Consists almost entirely of grasses.

Lower Risk/



Consists almost entirely of grasses.

Lower Risk/ Conservation Dependent


Lower Risk/ Conservation Dependent

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