Red Forest Duiker

(Cephalophus natalensis)




Facts about this animal

Red duikers belong to a subfamily of small antelopes called Cephalophinae. Their body length is up to 1 m with a shoulder highth of up to 45 cm. Both sexes may carry short, straight horns whereas in females these are smaller in size or sometimes even absent.


The general fur colour is glossy almost uniform bright rufous chestnut all over but somewhat paler on the underparts. On top of the head there is a very well developed hairy crest mixed chestnut and black. On the sides of the head there is a line of pores (glands) forming a long naked line. Colouration may vary within the subspecies described. As a forest dwelling species they have a typical body shape with a hunched back and rather short legs being slightly shorter in the front than in the back.


Their average gestation period is about 8 moths. In general, only one calf is born. Duikers can reach an age of about 15 years.

Did you know?
that red uikers do a great deal of scent marking, using a substance secreted from the maxillary glands near their eyes? A Duiker will rub its face on grass, twigs, bark or other surfaces to mark its territorial boundaries, or even on its mate or calf to 'label' the other animal.


Name (Scientific) Cephalophus natalensis
Name (English) Red Forest Duiker
Name (French) C├ęphalophe rouge
Name (German) Rotducker
Name (Spanish) Duiker rojo
Local names Afdrikaans: Rooj duiker
kiKuyu: Ng'unu
kiSwahili: Minde nyekundu, Funo, Kiduku
Maasai: Erongo
isiZulu: Impunzi/Uhluhlaga
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Zoo Leipzig



Range Central and southern Africa
Habitat Forest and dense bush
Wild population 42.000 (1999) (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 11 reported to ISIS (2005)

In the Zoo

Red Forest Duiker


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Requirement 73 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Road transport (according to the South African Standard SANS 10331): Transport singly, or a ewe and her lamb together in an individual crate. The crates should be placed transversely on the transport vehicle, so that the heads of the animals face outwards. Tranquillization is recommended.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Der Irbis

Why do zoos keep this animal

Red duikers are characteristic representatives of the Cephalophinae subfamily which are not very common in zoos. This is a forest-dwelling species and therefore an example of an animal, which is very much affected by forest destruction and bushmeat trade. Therefore, this species is kept mainly for educational purposes.

In contrast to other duiker species the Red duiker it is not endangered in most parts of its natural range in sub-Saharan Africa. However, conservation breeding can very soon be an important issue for other duiker species such as a close relative of the Red duiker, i.e. the Zanzibar or Ader's duiker. Therefore, the husbandry experiences gained in zoos with less endangered species can serve as an important model for conservation dependent relatives.