Common Eland  (Tragelaphus oryx)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family:    Bovidae
Size:    Length: 80 to 136 inches (2 to 2.4 m)  Height: 50 to 73 inches (1.25 to 1.2 m) to shoulder
Weight: 697 to 2,072 pounds (317 to 942 kg)
Diet: Grass, leaves and fruit
Distribution: Southern Africa
Young:  1 calf per year
Animal Predators:  Lion
IUCN Status: Lower Risk, Conservation Dependent
Terms: Young: Calf  Group:  Herd   Male: Bull  Female: Cow 
Lifespan: 15 to 20 years



            Common elands are the largest and most heavily built of all antelopes, as well as the slowest, at a top speed of about 25 miles (40 km) per hour. 

            The giant eland is smaller than the common eland.

            One eland can jump over another eland from a standing position. 


Both males and females have horns that have one or two spiral twists. Those of the male can be up to four feet in length, while those of the female can grow to just over two feet. Common elands have light brown or reddish-brown fur with thin white stripes running from around the top of the back down around the belly. There are thick black stripes on the backs of their front knees and white on the inside of the hind legs. Their tail is long and thin with a tuft of black fur on the end. There is a black dorsal stripe and a thin mane on the slight hump on the back. A dewlap hangs from the throat and there is black fur just above each hoof. Males especially are extremely large and as they age, their fur slowly goes grey. They have four chambered stomachs and like cows, they chew their cud, which means regurgitating food recently eaten, then chewing it and swallowing it again.



Common elands can be found in the grasslands and open woodlands of African countries such as Angola, Botswana, Burundi, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Feeding Habits

Common elands eat grass, leaves and fruit. They feed in the early morning and late afternoon, when the sun is not as warm. They feed at night when the temperature during the day climbs too high. Common elands can go for up to a month without water because of the moisture in their food. 



Females begin to reproduce at three and usually stop by the time they reach 15 years of age. Births occur throughout the year and the gestation period ranges between eight to nine months. Calves are usually weaned at four to six months, but they may keep nursing even after a new sibling is born, because calves are rarely driven away by their mothers.  



Common elands live in herds of three to 100. During midday when the sun is the hottest, they rest in the shade. When the herd is startled, they take off at a run with the largest males bringing up the rear. 



Because of their massive size, common elands have little to fear from predators, but they do face danger from poachers. They are also very susceptible to disease. 



National Audubon Society Field Guide to African Wildlife, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1998