The Steenbok (Raphicerus campestris) is a common small antelope of southern and eastern Africa. It is also know as the "Steinbuck" or "Steinbok"; not to be confused with the Dutch-language "steenbok" (= ibex).
Steenbok resemble small Oribi, standing 45–60 cm at the shoulder. Their pelage (coat) is any shade from fawn to rufous, typically rather orange. The underside, including chin and throat, is white, as is the ring around the eye. Ears are large with "finger-marks" on the inside. Males carry straight, smooth, parallel horns 7–19 cm long. There is a black crescent-shape between the ears, a long black bridge to the glossy black nose, and a black circular scent-gland in front of the eye. The tail is usually invisible, being only 4–6 cm long.
Distribution and Habitat
There are two distinct clusters in Steenbok distribution. In East Africa, it occurs in southern Kenya, Uganda (formerly widespread, now possibly extinct) and Tanzania. In southern Africa, it occurs in Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho (?), Swaziland, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
They can use a variety of habitats from (semi-)desert (e.g. in the Kalahari Desert, Etosha National Park) to open woodland and thickets, including open plains, stony savannah, and Acacia–grassland mosaics. They are said to favour unstable or transitional habitats.
Steenbok typically browse on low-level vegetation, but are also adept at scraping up roots and tubers. They will also take fruits and seasonally graze on grass. They are almost entirely independent of drinking water, gaining the moisture they need from their food.
At the first sign of trouble, Steenbok typically lie low in the vegetation. If a predator or perceived threat comes closer, a Steenbok will leap away and follow a zigzag route to try to shake off the pursuer. Escaping Steenbok frequently stop to look back, and flight is alternated with prostration during extended pursuit. They are known to take refuge in the burrows of Aardvarks. Known predators include African Wild Cat, Caracal, Jackals, Leopard, Martial Eagle and Pythons.
Steenbok are typically solitary, except for when a pair come together to mate. However, it has been suggested that pairs occupy consistent territories while living independently, staying in contact through scent markings, so that they know where their mate is most of the time. Scent marking is primarily through dung middens. Territories range from 4 hectares to one square kilometre. The male is aggressive during the female's oestrus, engaging in "bluff-and-bluster" type displays with rival males—prolonged contests invariably involve well-matched individuals, usually in their prime.
Breeding occurs throughout the year, although more fawns are born in southern spring–summer (November–December); some females may breed twice a year. Gestation period is about 170 days, and the (almost always single) fawn is precocious, though it is kept hidden in vegetation for 2 weeks. Fawns suckle for 3 months, and become sexually mature at 6–8 months (females) or 9 months (males).
Steenbok are known to live for 7 years or more.
During cool periods, Steenbok are active throughout the day; however, during hotter periods, they rest under shade during the heat of the day. While resting, they may be busy grooming, ruminating and taking brief spells of sleep.
Two subspecies are recognized: R. c. campestris in Southern Africa and R. c. naumanni of East Africa. Up to 24 subspecies have been described from Southern Africa, distinguished on such features as coat colour.
Pages in category "Steinbock"
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