Reproductive biology

Several members of this group are monogamous while others are polygamous. Monagamy has been confirmed in some of these species using molecular techniques. At least one species, the oribi, displays polygyandry in parts of its range. These polygyandrous associations are rare among bovids and are characterized in oribi by the cooperative defense of a harem and territory by two to four adult males.

The dew and moisture from the vegetation that it eats provides Kirk's dikdik (Madoqua kirkii) with sufficient water. (Photo by Ann & Steve Toon Wildlife Photography. Reproduced by permission.)
Kirk's dikdik (Madoqua kirkii) sniffing a scent marker in Etosha National Park, Namibia, Africa. (Photo by Martin W. Grosnick. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Courtship in the neotragines typically begins when a female approaches or reaches estrus at which time the male begins to guard her closely. The male conveys his desire to mount through bleats and mews and with repeated pats on the female's hind legs ("laufschlag"). Mounting lasts a short time (5-20 seconds) and is repeated several times during es-trous. One young is born after a gestation of five to seven months, after which it is hidden in tall grass or thicket for two to 16 weeks. Breeding typically coincides with rainy seasons, when lactating mothers and developing young will have greatest access to food of high quality. Males do not participate in parental care beyond whistling to alert group members to danger or, very rarely, butting potential predators of young such as hawks and eagles.

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