Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Yellow-backed Duiker

Cephalophus silvicultor
Today we'll learn about the largest, and the most widespread of the Duiker species-- the Yellow-backed Duiker. Identifiable from the patch of yellow fur on their otherwise brown backs, these Antelope can weigh over 100lbs-- ten times that of their tiniest cousin.

You'll find the Yellow-backed Duikers in Central and Western Africa. They live in dense forests, forming monogamous breeding pairs and marking off small territories by using scent marks and vocalizations. Each year one or two uniformly brown calves are born, and their parents hide them in the vegetation for the first 1-2 weeks of life. After that they grow quickly, and are weaned by 6 weeks. It will take about seven months for their yellow back stripe to appear.

Yellow-backed Duikers have an interesting diet. They eat mostly fruit (about 75% of their diet), but they will also forage on leaves, nuts, bark, and even other animals! They have been observed eating birds and lizards in the wild, though other animals make up a very small percentage of their overall intake.

The IUCN has the Yellow-backed Duikers listed as "Least Concern," though their population is under strain for habitat loss and hunting. They require very dense forests in order to stay hidden, and those are frequently being thinned out to make room for agriculture.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : West and Central Africa
Size : Length up to 4.5ft (1.4m), Weight up to 130lbs (59kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Artiodactyla
Family : Bovidae -- Genus : Cephalophus -- Species : C. silvicultor 
Image : KCZoofan

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