bushbuck, either of two small, delicate, spiral-horned antelopes of sub-Saharan Africa, the imbabala (Tragelaphus sylvaticus) and the kéwel (T. scriptus), formerly classified as a single species. Bushbucks live in pairs in thick forest, browsing on leaves and shrubs by night and resting during the day. Their chief predator is the leopard. Adult males stand less than 3 ft (90 cm) high at the shoulder and weigh about 100 lb (45 kg); the kéwel is smaller than the imbabala. The horns, borne only by the male, are about 16 in. (40 cm) long. The coat is reddish brown with scattered white markings, with males darker than females and young; the kéwel has more noticeable and typical horizontal white striping.
Other species of the genus Tragelaphus are the bongo, kudus, nyalas, and sitatunga, although animals of this genus are sometimes referred to collectively as bushbucks. All are retiring, largely nocturnal antelopes; except for the bongo, the female is hornless. The nyala, T. angasii, is a medium-sized antelope that inhabits the bush country and thickets of central Africa. The mountain nyala, T. buxtoni, is a very large antelope of the highlands of Ethiopia; the male may stand 41⁄2 ft (135 cm) high. The sitatunga, or marsh buck, T. spekii, is a large antelope found in swampy forests in central Africa; it is a good swimmer, but it is awkward on land.
Bushbucks are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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