The kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros – Pallas, 1766) is a large, slender and majestic antelope. The males with their wide, deeply spiralled horns are an impressive sight to behold. The horns of all bulls of the Tragelaphus genus (which include kudu, nyala, and bushbuck) have a well developed ridge along the horns. Horns generally only occur in the bulls but are occasionally found in cows but are then of atypical or deformed shape. Bulls weigh about 230kg on average (500 pounds). Cows are smaller and average around 157kg (345 pounds). Height at shoulder is about160cm (63 inches).
Kudu have a greyish brown background colour with distinct white vertical stripes on the sides of the body. These stripes are unique to the individual in terms of spacing, number and thickness and can be used to identify specific animals. Other distinctive features are a white chevron between the eyes and three white spots on the cheek below the eye. Bulls have a distinctive fringe of hairs from the chin to the neck and a dorsal crest from the base of the head to the root of the tail. The crest in females terminates at the back of the shoulders.
Kudu are widely distributed throughout Africa and have a preference for savannah woodland and broken, rocky terrain.
Kudu are gregarious but associate in small groups of seldom more than 12 – 14 individuals. They are most active in the early morning and late afternoon and will take shelter during the heat of the day in thickets or dense bush. They are shy antelope and at the slightest hint of danger will head for the nearest cover at a run with tails curled over the back to display a white underside. The alarm call is a deep guttural bark.
Although they will very occasionally graze fresh green grass they are predominantly browsers.