The common eland (Taurotragus oryx), aka southern eland or eland antelope, is the world’s second-largest savannah and plains antelope found in East and Southern Africa.
In Uganda, the common eland is found in Lake Mburo National Park, Kidepo Valley, and Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve.
It is slightly smaller than the giant eland, which measures over 1.8 metres and can be bulkier than a buffalo.
Common eland males are much larger than females, weighing 200-400 kilos more than females.
It has a rather bovine appearance: fawn-brown, with a large dewlap and short, spiralled horns, and in some cases, light white stripes on its sides. Its hide is a uniform fawn colour with some vertical white striping on the upper parts.
A dewlap, thought to be an adaptation for heat dissipation, hangs from the throat and neck. Heavy horns are twisted in a corkscrew fashion and grow up to 4 ft. long on males and 2.2 ft. on females. It has a short mane on the nape, and males have long hairs on the throat.
Common eland herds in Uganda usually reach 25 individuals, although larger temporary herds of females and calves occur during the wet season. They may have more than one adult male in a flock, but a strict dominance hierarchy controls access to breeding females.
Home ranges of females, which make extensive movements during the wet season, are much more populated than male territories, which occur primarily in wooded areas.
Common elands fight with horns; they feel out each others’ horns and then push with all their might.
The common eland is a browser, utilizing a wide diversity of plant species consisting of grasses, herbs, tree leaves, bushes, and succulent fruits.
They generally forage in open areas. They can exist for long periods without open water but rely on the fruits of Tsamas and Gemsbok Cucumbers to meet their water requirements.
Dominant males mate with multiple females. Gestation lasts from 8.5-9 months, and only single young are born.
Small calves lie in concealment rather than remaining with their mothers and wean their young after six months. Eland is sexually mature at three and can live to 25 years.
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