(Last Updated On: February 2, 2021)

The common eland, scientific name Taurotragus oryx, also referred to as the southern eland or eland antelope is a savannah and plains antelope present in East and Southern Africa. It is a species of the family Bovidae and genus Taurotragus.

Common Eland profile

A grownup male is around 1.6 meters (5′) tall on the shoulder (females are 20 centimeters (8″) shorter) and might weigh as much as 942 kg (2,077 lb) with a median of 500–600 kg (1,100–1,300 lb), 340–445 kg (750–981 lb) for females). It is the second-largest antelope on the planet, being barely smaller on average than the large eland. It was scientifically described by Peter Simon Pallas in 1766.

It is native to Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe however is now not present in Burundi. While the common eland’s inhabitants are reducing, it’s categorized as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Scientific Classification

Common Name: Common eland
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Genus Species: Taurotragus (goat like bull) oryx (antelope)

Common Eland Fast Facts


The eland is likely one of the largest antelopes. It has fawn coloring and long black spiral horns on each female and male.
Approximately 1.36 to 1.Eight m (4.5 to six ft.)
Male: 400 to 1000 kg (880 to 2200 lbs.)
Female: 136.Four to 272.7 kg (300 to 600 lbs.)
Herbivore: consists of leaves and fruit
Gestation lasts roughly Eight to 9 months; one offspring is born at a time
Sexual Maturity
Male: About Four years
Female: About three years
Life Span
Eight to 10 years within the wild
Eastern and Southern Africa, Drakensburg Mountains
Inhabits sparse forests and brush; open territory to semi-deserts
Global: No information
IUCN: Lower Risk/Conservation Dependent
CITES: Not listed
USFWS: Not listed

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Common Eland Behavior

Mainly an herbivore, its diet is primarily grasses and leaves. Common elands type herds of as much as 500 animals, however usually are not territorial. The common eland prefers habitats with all kinds of flowering vegetation akin to savannah, woodlands, and open and montane grasslands; it avoids dense forests.

It makes use of loud barks, visible and postural actions and the flehmen response to speak and warn others of hazard. The common eland is utilized by people for leather-based, meat, and wealthy, nutritious milk, and has been domesticated in lots of areas.

Habitat and distribution

Common elands reside on the open plains of southern Africa and alongside the foothills of the great southern African plateau. The species extends north into Ethiopia and most arid zones of South Sudan, west into eastern Angola and Namibia, and south to South Africa. However, there’s a low density of elands in Africa as a consequence of poaching and human settlement.

Eland’s desire to reside in semi-arid areas that include many shrub-like bushes, and infrequently inhabit grasslands, woodlands, sub-desert, bush, and mountaintops with altitudes of about 15,000 ft (4,600 m).

Elands do, nonetheless, keep away from forests, swamps, and deserts. The locations inhabited by elands usually include Acacia, Combretum, Commiphora, Diospyros, Grewia, Rhus, and Ziziphus timber and shrubs; a few of these additionally function their meals.

Eland could be discovered in lots of National Parks and reserves immediately, together with Nairobi National Park and Tsavo East National Park; Kidepo Valley National Park (Uganda); Luangwa Valley and Kafue National Park (Zambia); Hwange National Park, Matobo National Park, Tuli Safari Area, and Chimanimani Eland Sanctuary (Zimbabwe); Kagera National Park (Rwanda); Nyika National Park (Malawi); Lake Mburo National Park (Uganda); Kruger National Park, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Giant’s Castle and Suikerbosrand NR (South Africa)Tsavo West National Park; Masai Mara National Reserve, (Kenya); Serengeti National Park, Ruaha National Park, and Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, (Tanzania).

They reside on house ranges that may be 200–400 km2 for females and juveniles and 50 km2 for males.

Common Eland Physical description

Common elands are spiral-horned antelopes. They are sexually dimorphic, with females being smaller than males. Females weigh 300–600 kg (660–1,320 lb), measure 200–280 cm (79–110 in) from the snout to the bottom of the tail, and stand 125–153 cm (49–60 in) on the shoulder.

Bulls weigh 400–942 kg (882–2,077 lb), are 240–345 cm (94–136 in) from the snout to the bottom of the tail, and stand 150–183 cm (59–72 in) on the shoulder. The tail is 50–90 cm (20–35 in) long. Male elands can weigh as much as 1,000 kg (2,200 lb).

Their coat differs geographically, with elands in northern a part of their range having distinctive markings (torso stripes, markings on legs, darkish garters, and a spinal crest) which might be absent within the south. Apart from a tough mane, the coat is clean.

Females have a tan coat, whereas the coats of males are darker, with a bluish-grey tinge. Bulls might also have a sequence of vertical white stripes on their sides (primarily in components of the Karoo in South Africa). As males age, their coat turns into more gray. Males even have dense fur on their foreheads and a big dewlap on their throats.

Both sexes have horns with a gradual spiral ridge (resembling that of the bushbuck). The horns are seen as small buds in newborns and develop quickly through the first seven months.

The horns of males are thicker and shorter than these of females (males’ horns are 43–66 centimeters (17–26 in) long and females’ are 51–69 centimeters (20–27 in) long), and have a tighter spiral.

Males use their horns throughout rutting season to wrestle and butt heads with rivals, whereas females use their horns to guard their younger from predators.

The common eland is the slowest antelope, with a peak velocity of 40 kilometers (25 mi) per hour that tires them rapidly. However, they will preserve a 22 kilometers (14 mi) per hour trot indefinitely.

Elands are able to leap as much as 2.5 meters (8 ft 2 in) from a standing begin when startled (as much as three meters (9.8 ft) for younger elands). The common eland’s life expectancy is mostly between 15 and 20 years; in captivity, some reside as much as 25 years.

Eland herds are accompanied by a loud clicking sound that has been subject to the appreciable hypothesis. It is believed that the load of the animal causes the 2 halves of its hooves to splay aside, and the press is the result of the hoof snapping collectively when the animal raises its leg.

The sound carries a long way from a herd, and could also be a type of communication.

common eland common eland similar classifications

Ecology and behavior

Common elands are nomadic and crepuscular. They eat within the morning and night, relax in the shade when sizzling and stay in daylight when chilly. They are generally present in herds of as much as 500, with particular person members remaining within the herd wherever from a number of hours to a number of months.

Juveniles and moms are inclined to type bigger herds, whereas males could separate into smaller teams or wander individually.

During estrus, primarily within the wet season, teams are inclined to type more usually. In southern Africa, common elands will typically affiliate with herds of zebras, roan antelopes, and oryxes.

Common elands talk by way of gestures, vocalizations, scent cues, and display behaviors. The flehmen response additionally happens, primarily in males in response to contact with feminine urine or genitals.

Females will urinate to point fertility throughout the suitable section of their estrous cycle, in addition, to point their lack of fertility when harassed by males. If eland bulls discover any of their predators close by, they are going to bark and try to draw the eye of others by trotting back and forth till all the herd is acutely aware of the hazard. Some of their most important predators embody lions, African wild dogs, cheetahs, and noticed hyenas. Juvenile elands are weaker than adults to their predators.

Common Eland Diet

Common elands are herbivores that browse throughout drier winter months however have additionally tailored to grazing through the wet season when grasses are more common.

They require a high-protein diet of succulent leaves from flowering vegetation however will eat decrease high-quality plant materials if obtainable together with forbs, timber, shrubs, grasses, seeds, and tubers.

The eland can preserve water by growing its body temperature. Grasses the eland eats embody Setaria and Themeda and fruits from Securinega and Strychnos.

Large antelope can survive on decrease high-quality meals in occasions of little rain. Elands feed through the night in a hot climate and sleep for long durations during the day.

Most of their water is obtained from their meals, although they are going to drink water when obtainable. As they rapidly modify to the environment as a consequence of seasonal adjustments and different causes, they also change their feeding habits. They additionally use their horns to interrupt off branches which might be onerous to achieve.

Sociability and reproduction

Females are sexually mature at 15–36 months and males at 4–5 years. Mating could happen anytime after reaching sexual maturity but is usually seen within the wet season. In Zambia, younger are born in July and August, whereas elsewhere it’s the mating season.

Mating begins when elands collect to feed on lush green plains with plentiful grass, and a few women and men begin mating with one another in separate pairs.

Males chase the females to seek out out if they’re in estrus. They additionally take a look at the feminine’s urine. Usually, a feminine chooses essentially the most dominant and match male to mate with. Sometimes she runs away from males making an attempt to mate, inflicting more attraction.

This ends in fights between males, through which their onerous horns are used. It is 2–Four hours before a feminine permits a male to mount. Males normally hold shut contact with females within the mating interval.

The dominant male can mate with more than one feminine. Females have a gestation interval of 9 months and provide start to just one calf every time.

Males, females, and juveniles of every type separate social teams. The male teams are the smallest; the members keep collectively and seek meals or water sources. The feminine group is far bigger and covers higher areas.

They travel the grassy plains in moist durations and like bushy areas in dry durations. Females have a posh linear hierarchy. The nursery and juvenile group are of course shaped when females give start to calves.

After about 24 hours of the supply, the mom and calf be a part of this group. The calves begin befriending one another and keep back within the nursery group whereas the mom returns to the feminine group.

The calves go away to the nursery group when they’re at the least two years old and be a part of a male or feminine group.

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Currently, common elands usually are not endangered. They are conserved by the United States Endangered Species Act and controlled in worldwide commerce by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Using ground counts and aerial surveys, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) calculates the population density of the Common Elandeland to be between 0.05 and 1 per sq. kilometer with total inhabitants estimate of 136,000.

Populations are thought-about secure or growing within the nations of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, and possibly Tanzania.

The inhabitants are, nonetheless, regularly reducing as a consequence of habitat loss, brought on by increasing human settlements and poaching for its superior meat. As they’re docile and inactive more often than not, they will simply be killed. The species grew to become extinct in Swaziland and Zimbabwe, however has been reintroduced.

The IUCN states that about half of the estimated complete inhabitants live in protected areas and 30% on personal land.

Protected areas that assist main populations embody Omo (Ethiopia), Serengeti, Katavi, Ruaha and Selous-Kilombero (Tanzania), Kafue and North Luangwa (Zambia), Nyika (Malawi), Etosha (Namibia), Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (Botswana/South Africa) and Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park (South Africa). Most of those populations look stable.

Relatively massive numbers of common eland now reside on personal land, significantly in Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, reflecting its worth as a trophy animal. Common elands have additionally been extensively domesticated in Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Kenya, in addition to in Russia and Ukraine.

Common Eland Facts

  • The eland is the biggest African bovid, however the slowest antelope. It can solely run about 40 kph (25 mph), however, it could leap three m (10 ft.) from a standing start.
  • When strolling, tendons or joints within the eland’s foreleg produce a pointy clicking sound, the reason for which has not been extensively investigated. The sound carries a long way and is an effective indication of an approaching herd. Some scientists consider it might be a type of communication; if a male is strolling by his territory, the press which could be heard for as much as a mile away could alert one other eland about this territory.
  • It shares traits with the ox such as a thick neck and Brahman Bull-like dewlap (particularly in males).
  • It is likely one of the most adaptable ruminants, capable of residing in a wide selection of environments, from desert to savanna, grassland to the mountain. The sole environments not appropriate for an eland are swamps, forests, and deserts.
  • Like its distant gazelle and oryx family, the eland can preserve water by elevating its body temperature as a lot as 7° Celsius (13.5° Fahrenheit) on sizzling days.
  • Elands can even fluctuate their diet, breaking off high branches with their horns.

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