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74 Types of African Antelope (And 56 Subspecies) Full Guide

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Learn about all the types of African antelope in Africa. Complete guide covers every antelope species with tons of facts, photos, and videos. Full list by subfamily and tribe. And we’ll answer all your antelope questions. 

african antelope

African Antelope Guide

To get started, lets cover some important facts about African antelopes.

Following this section, you’ll find the full species and subspecies list of African antelopes. 

How many types of antelopes in Africa?

There are 74 species of antelopes in Africa, according to IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). And there are another 56 subspecies of antelopes.

In addition to the 74 types of antelope, IUCN also include another 4 types of animals in their African Antelope Database. These other animals include giraffe, okapi, water chevrotain, and African buffalo. So while these are ungulates that live in Africa, they are not antelopes.

Their inclusion in the database has created some confusion among travelers and many consider there to be 78 species of African antelope. Even this number is inaccurate, even if they were all antelopes. For example, there are actually 4 species of giraffes, not one as the database suggests. 

How many species of antelopes are there?

Globally, there are 91 species of antelopes with the majority native to Africa.

You can also find antelopes on the Arabian Peninsula (Dorcas gazelle and Arabian oryx), Russia (Tibetan antelope and saiga), and India (blackbuck, chinkara, four-horned antelope, nilgai, and the Tibetan antelope).

There are no native types of antelopes in Australasia, America (more on the pronghorn below), Europe, or Antarctica. 

What is an antelope? 

Antelope is a miscellaneous species group (wastebasket taxon) in the Bovidae family. They are ruminants with even-toe hooves. 

What is the most common African antelope?

The blue duiker (Philantomba monticola) is the most common African antelope, by population

Blue duiker population is 7,000,000 and is considered conservative.

What about impalas? By contrast, the larger (and more famous) impala population is just 2,000,000. The springbok (2,000,000+) and Maxwell’s duiker (2,137,000) both have higher population. But there are more blue duiker than the 3 next most common species combined. 

most common antelope

Blue duiker antelope

The blue duiker is extant (resident) in the following countries: Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo; Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

What is the smallest antelope in the world?

At just 6 lb (2.7 kg) the Royal antelope (Neotragus pygmaeus) is world’s smallest antelope and ruminant. It is also the smallest ungulate in Africa.

It stands just 10 inches (25 cm) high and resembles a rabbit more than a typical antelope. Royal antelope population is just 62,000.

You can find the Royal antelope in western African, including Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Learn more about the smallest African antelopes.

 

What is the largest antelope in Africa?

The giant eland (Taurotragus derbianus) is Africa’s largest antelope. Its length ranges from 7.2 to 9.5 ft (2.2 to 2.9 meters). And stands between 4.3 to 5.9 ft (1.3 to 1.8 meters) at the shoulder. 

Giant elands are sexually dimorphic, with males being larger than females.

  • Males: 880 to 2,200 lbs (400 to 1000 kg)
  • Females: 660 to 1,320 lbs (300 to 600 kg)

Giant elands are spiral horned antelope. They can be found in South Sudan, Central African Republic, Cameroon, and Chad.  

Learn more about the biggest African antelopes

What are male and female antelopes called?

Male antelopes are called “rams” and females are called “ewes”. Some species are also known as “buck” (male) and “doe” (female).

Some larger antelopes, like the kudu, are called “bulls” and “cows”. 

What is a baby antelope called?

Baby antelopes are called calves. 

What is a bearded African antelope called?

A gnu is a bearded African antelope. It is also known as a wildebeest. 

What is a group of antelopes called? 

A group of antelopes is called a herd.

antelope types africa

Blue wildebeest, an African antelope with more than 1,500,000 individuals

6 Most Endangered Antelope Species

More than a quarter (25 of 91) antelope species are threatened with extinction, according to IUCN. There are five species of antelope are in the highest category of threat, Critically Endangered,

  1. Dama Gazelle (Nanger dama)
  2. Aders’ Duiker (Cephalophus adersi)
  3. Saiga Antelope (Saiga tatarica)
  4. Hirola (Beatragus hunteri)
  5. Addax (Addax nasomaculatus).
  6. Scimitar Horned Oryx (Oryx dammah) is Extinct in the Wild. There are ongoing efforts to reintroduce it from captive populations.

The Dama Gazelle and Addax are both reduced to tiny remnant populations and highlight the dire situation for wildlife in the Sahelo-Saharan region.

What is the difference between pronghorn and antelope?

While having a similar appearance, pronghorn and antelope are taxonomically distinct. 

Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) are even-toes ungulates native to central North America. Pronghorn are often known as American antelope, prong buck, pronghorn antelope, prairie antelope, or simply antelope.

Antelope are native to Africa, central Asia, India, and the Arabian Peninsula. 

  • Difference: Pronghorns shed their horns each year, making them more like antlers. 
  • Difference: Antelope don’t shed their horns. 
  • Similarity: Both are even-toed ungulates (hoofed animals).
  • Similarity: Pronghorns resemble antelopes in appearance. 
  • Difference: Taxonomically speaking, antelopes are more similar to North American mountain goats than pronghorn.

There are no wild antelope in North America. The only place to see a true antelope in North America is at a zoo. 

What is difference between antelope and deer?

Antelopes below to the family Bovidae (along with sheep and cattle). Deer belong to the family Cervidae. 

Male deer grow and shed antlers every year. Antelopes grow horns that are permanent. Deer antlers are branched while antelope horns aren’t. 

Deer are found on all continents, with the exception of Australia and Antarctica. Antelope are found only in Africa and Eurasia. 

What is an African deer called?

The Barbary stag is the only native deer in Africa. It is also known as Atlas deer. 

The Barbary stag is a subspecies of the red deer, found in North Africa and across Europe. The Barbary stag isn’t an antelope. It has antlers which are shed each year.

8 Antelope Subfamilies 

Here is the breakdown of the eight antelope subfamilies. 

  1. Subfamily Bovinae: Spiral-horned antelopes
    • Tribe Tragelaphini: 9 Species, 4 Subspecies
  2. Subfamily Reduncinae (Rhebok, reedbucks, and waterbucks) 8 Species, 11 Subspecies
  3. Subfamily Peleinae: 1 Species
  4. Subfamily Alcelaphinae (Sassabies, hartebeests, and wildebeests) 7 Species, 19 Subspecies
  5. Subfamily Hippotraginae (Grazing antelope) 7 Species, 4 Subspecies
  6. Subfamily Aepycerotinae (Impala) 1 Species, 2 Subspecies
  7. Subfamily Antilopinae (Gazelles, dwarf antelopes)
    • Tribe Antilopini: 10 Species, 4 Subspecies
    • Tribe Ammodorcadini: 1 Species
    • Tribe Neotragini: 13 Species, 4 Subspecies
  8. Subfamily Cephalophinae (Duiker) 17 Species, 7 Subspecies
types of antelope

Pictured are an impala mother and calf

All 74 African Antelope Species: Complete Guide

All antelopes fall under the Family Bovidae. This family classification also includes African buffalo, sheep, and domestic cattle. 

Subfamily Bovinae

Spiral-horned antelopes (Tribe Tragelaphini)

  1. Bushbuck
  2. Sitatunga
  3. Nyala
  4. Mountain Nyala
  5. Lesser Kudu
  6. Greater Kudu
  7. Common Eland
  8. Giant Eland
    1. Western Giant Eland
    2. Eastern Giant Eland
  9. Bongo
    1. Lowland Bongo
    2. Mountain Bongo
bongo antelope africa

Pictured is the Bongo antelope

Rhebok, reedbucks, and waterbucks (Subfamily Reduncinae)

  1. Bohor Reedbuck
  2. Southern Reedbuck
  3. Mountain Reedbuck
    1. Western Mt. Reedbuck
    2. Chanler’s Mt. Reedbuck
    3. Southern Mt. Reedbuck
  4. Kob
    1. Buffon’s Kob
    2. Uganda Kob
    3. White-eared Kob
  5. Puku 
  6. Waterbuck 
    1. Ellipsen Waterbuck 
    2. Defassa Waterbuck 
  7. Lechwe 
    1. Red Lechwe 
    2. Kafue Lechwe 
    3. Black Lechwe 
  8. Nile Lechwe 
female kob antelope africa

Female impala

Subfamily Peleinae 

  1. Grey Rhebok

Sassabies, hartebeests, and wildebeests (Subfamily Alcelaphinae)

  1. Common Hartebeest
    1. Western Hartebeest 
    2. Lelwel Hartebeest 
    3. Tora Hartebeest 
    4. Swayne’s Hartebeest 
    5. Kenya Hartebeest 
    6. Coke’s Hartebeest 
    7. Red Hartebeest 
  2. Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest 
  3. Bontebok & Blesbok 
    1. Bontebok 
    2. Blesbok 
  4. Tsessebe, Topi & Tiang 
    1. Tsessebe (also known as sassaby)
    2. Topi 
    3. Coastal Topi 
    4. Tiang 
    5. Korrigum 
  5. Hirola 
  6. Blue/White-bearded Wildebeest
    1. Blue Wildebeest 
    2. Western White-b. Wildebeest 
    3. Eastern White-b. Wildebeest 
    4. Nyassa Wildebeest 
    5. Cookson’s Wildebeest 
  7. Black Wildebeest

Wildebeest is also called the Gnu, and belongs to the family Bovidae. 

blue wildebeest africa

Pictured is the blue wildebeest on the African savanna. The all-black tail differentiates it from the black wildebeest.

Grazing antelope (Subfamily Hippotraginae)

  1. Roan Antelope 
  2. Bluebuck 
  3. Sable Antelope 
    1. Common Sable 
    2. Giant Sable 
  4. Gemsbok 
  5. Beisa & Fringe-eared Oryx 
    1. Beisa Oryx 
    2. Fringe-eared Oryx 
  6. Scimitar-horned Oryx 
  7. Addax 
sable antelope africa

Sable antelope

Impala (Subfamily Aepycerotinae)

  1. Impala 
    1. Common Impala 
    2. Black-faced Impala 
african impala antelope

Impala

Gazelles, dwarf antelopes (Subfamily Antilopinae)

Tribe Antilopini 

  1. Dorcas Gazelle 
  2. Slender-horned Gazelle 
  3. Red-fronted Gazelle 
    1. Nominate Subspecies 
    2. Heuglin’s Gazelle 
  4. Thomson’s Gazelle 
    1. Nominate Subspecies 
    2. Mongalla Gazelle 
  5. Speke’s Gazelle
  6. Grant’s Gazelle 
  7. Soemmerring’s Gazelle 
  8. Dama Gazelle 
  9. Springbok
  10. Gerenuk 
springbok antelope in africa

Springbok antelope in the air

Tribe Ammodorcadini 

  1. Dibatag 

Dwarf Antelopes (Tribe Neotragini)

  1. Royal Antelope 
  2. Bates’ Pigmy Antelope 
  3. Suni 
  4. Cape Grysbok
  5. Sharpe’s Grysbok
  6. Steenbok
  7. Salt’s Dikdik
  8. Silver Dikdik 
  9. Guenther’s Dikdik 
  10. Kirk’s Dikdik 
  11. Oribi 
    1. Haggard’s Oribi 
    2. Other Subspecies 
  12. Beira 
  13. Klipspringer 
    1. Western Klipspringer 
    2. Other Subspecies
kirks dikdik dwarf antelope

Kirk’s Dikdik, dwarf antelope

Duiker (Subfamily Cephalophinae)

  1. Maxwell’s Duiker
  2. Blue Duiker 
  3. Aders’ Duiker 
  4. Bay Duiker 
  5. Peters’ Duiker 
    1. Nominate Subspecies 
    2. Weyns’ Duiker 
  6. White-bellied Duiker
  7. Ogilby’s Duiker 
    1. Nominate Subspecies 
    2. Brooke’s Duiker 
    3. White-legged Duiker
  8. Black-fronted Duiker
    1. Rwenzori Black-fr. Duiker 
    2. Other Subspecies 
  9. Harvey’s Red Duiker 
  10. Natal Red Duiker 
  11. Black Duiker 
  12. Red-flanked Duiker 
  13. Zebra Duiker 
  14. Abbott’s Duiker 
  15. Yellow-backed Duiker 
  16. Jentink’s Duiker 
  17. Grey Duiker
blue duiker antelope

Blue duiker antelope

4 Antelopes that Aren’t Actually Antelopes

As mentioned at the first of the post, the IUCN included some animals in their African Antelope Database that aren’t actually antelopes.

These animals are ungulates (hooved mammals) but not antelopes. I’m including these for comparison, but please remember that these are distinct from the above 74 African antelopes. 

Family Giraffidae 

  1. Giraffe. Although listed as one in the database, these are actually classified as four distinct species. Here’s our guide to baby giraffes.
  2. Okapi 

Family Tragulidae

  1. Water Chevrotain

Family Bovidae > Subfamily Bovinae > Tribe Bovini

  1. African Buffalo 
    • W. African Savanna Buffalo
    • Cen. African Savanna Buffalo
    • Southern Savanna Buffalo
    • Forest Buffalo

antelope species

Watch African Antelopes in 4K

Watch more than three hours of 4K footage of a variety of antelopes from across Africa.

 

African Antelope Crossword Clues 

Working on your crossword and need an answer for African antelope? 

Here are some possible answers for the crossword clue: African antelope

  • 3 letter answer: Gnu, Kob.
  • 4 letter answer: Oryx, Puku.
  • 5 letter answers: Eland, Nyala, Oribi, Bongo, Addax.
  • 6 letter answer: Impala, Lechwe, Dikdik, Duiker.

african antelope species

Planning to spot these in the wild? You’ll want a solid camera setup. Here are my recommendations for the best safari camera.

Your Turn

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