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Black Duiker
Cephalophus niger
Information
Common Name Tuba
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Artiodactyla
Family Bovidae
Genus Cephalophus
Species C. niger
Conservation Status
LCSpecies
Least Concern

The black duiker (Cephalophus niger) is a forest-dwelling duiker found in the southern parts of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Benin, and Nigeria.

Physical Characteristics

Head and body length: 90-100 cm
Shoulder height: 45-50 cm
Tail length: 9-4 cm
Adult weight: 17-26 kg

Females tend to be slightly larger than males, but otherwise the sexes are similar. The coat is soft and black in color. The underparts are slightly paler than the back, except for the underside of the tail which is bright white. The neck becomes increasingly gray near the head, such that the throat and chin are pale gray. The face is often reddish in color, with a bright red tuft of hair on the forehead. Both sexes have straight, pointed horns which angle back from the forehead; in males they are usually 7-9 cm long, while in females they are much shorter, only 2-3 cm.

Reproduction and Development

Gestation period: Probably 7 months.
Litter size: 1.
Weaning: Approximately 3 months.
Sexual maturity: Females by 12 months.
Life span: Up to 14 years.

Black duikers breed year-round, although in Ghana there is a peak in births in November, December, and January. Birth weights average 1.94 kg. Males tend to grow more quickly than females, but both sexes double in weight in their first month.

== Ecology and Behavior

The black duiker tends to be most active around dawn and dusk (crepuscular); in undisturbed areas it may be more diurnal, while increased human activity may cause a shift towards a more nocturnal existence. Resting spots are typically found in dense thickets or in between buttress roots of large trees. It has been suggested - but not confirmed - that this species is territorial. Black duikers are frequently observed in farmland, where they are often considered pests: they will raid crops on a regular basis. Cultivated crops make up a large proportion of the diet in some regions (as determined from the stomachs of individuals killed for bushmeat).

Family group: Typically solitary; sometimes observed in pairs.
Diet: Mostly fruit; also leaves and shoots, roots, fungi, and animal matter.
Main Predators: Leopard, rock python.

Habitat and Distribution

The black duiker is most frequently seen in secondary forest and farmbush. Primary forest is rarely used. The approximate range is depicted in the map below.

Gallery

  • A Black Duiker
  • Black Duiker Range
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