NAIROBI PARK DIARY

Rarely seen mountain reedbuck

Their behaviour is markedly different from other antelope species

In Summary

• It is one of three recognised species of reedbuck in Africa, alongside southern and bohor.

• It is found in the Nairobi National Park.

Mountain reedbuck
Mountain reedbuck
Image: GARETH JONES

One fine late afternoon, I decided to drive down to the Athi Basin. As I drove, it was evident some parts of the park were looking green, while other parts towards the Athi Basin were looking very dry and in need of rain.

As I turned a corner in an area with rocky outcrops, an entire family group of seven mountain reedbucks was positioned near the road. Fascinated with the opportunity to watch them closely, I parked the vehicle.

Their behaviour is markedly different from other antelope species. There is always a constant watch while the others feed. If there is possible danger, they suddenly all freeze, and stand motionless like statues for some time.

From a distance, their fawn colour helps them to blend into their surroundings. The females do not have horns, while the male has short, sharp, forward-curving horns.

There are three recognised species of reedbuck in Africa, namely southern, bohor and mountain reedbuck. The bohor reedbuck and the mountain reedbuck are found in the Nairobi National Park, while the other reedbuck species are heavily dependent on marshy water areas.

The mountain reedbuck can live with less water. They are rarely seen by most visitors, as they live in only a few selected rocky locations.

It is estimated that there are possibly only about 20 mountain reedbuck in the park.

When visiting the Nairobi Park, it is always best to drive slowly. You might just be blessed and see some mountain reedbuck.