Yellow-Backed Duiker

Yellow-Backed Duiker Cephalophus silvicultor

Type of Animal:

Forest, isolated forest islands, forested farmland, savanna forest, bush, clearings, woodland patches interspersed w/ savanna, open savanna woodland, thickets, swampy areas, forest-savanna mosaic, savanna, plantations

W & C Africa into N Angola, Zambia, Burundi, Rwanda, parts of Uganda, & SW Kenya

Convex body shape, taller at rump than shoulders, orange crest between short horns, yellow hair on rump, black/dark brown body, light gray muzzle, white lips, calves/fawns born dark brown w/ spotted flanks/red undersides, both sexes have horns, some females hornless, long wedge-shaped head

Fruits, shoots, berries, roots, leaves, buds, seeds, seed pods, stems, bark, herbs, foliage from bushes/trees, fungi, birds, small mammals, lizards, insects, carrion

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos & wildlife parks

Solitary or male-female pairs

Additional Info:

Male: Buck
Female: Doe
Young: Fawn/Calf
Group: Pair

Male: 140 lbs
Female: 170 lbs
Young: 68 lbs

7-7.5 months 

Life Span:
10-15 years

Male: 2.3 ft
Female: 2.62 ft

Body Length:
Male: 3.75 ft
Female: 4.75 ft

Tail Length:
4.3-7.1 in, same for both sexes

Main predators of adults are felids, wild dogs, hyenas, crocodiles, rock pythons, & large eagles. Smaller eagles, ball pythons, & civets prey on young.
Due to diet, they play important role in seed dispersal.
One of the largest duikers.
They have good eyesight, sense of smell, & hearing.
Very shy & flighty in wild & in captivity.
Females sexually mature at 9 months, males at a year old.
Rub scent glands under eyes on branches to mark territory. Also rub them on mates during courtship & on calves/fawns to familiarize w/ scent. Males rub them on each other when fighting as well.
Calves/fawns stay hidden for 1st week of life & weaned at 3 months but stay w/ mom for up to a year.
While stable, threats include bushmeat hunting, habitat loss, logging, & agriculture.
Breed once or twice a year.
Cheek teeth specialized for chewing tough bark/roots.
Long pointed tongue/mobile lips allow foliage to be obtained/manipulated.
Search ground for food using hooves/snouts to dig.
Sometimes communicate w/ shrill bleats & loud grunts but mostly quiet animals.
Very easy to hunt at night due to habit of freezing up in torchlight.

Fun Fact(s):
“Duiker” comes from Afrikaans word meaning “diver” due to way they dive for cover when threatened.
Yellow rump hairs become erect when agitated.
Yellow-Backed Duiker, Naples Zoo, Florida

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