Kudu show strong sexual dimorphism in that bulls bear massive, long, spiral horns which reach record lengths of up to 1.8 m. Horns grow to their full length at the age of six years. Bulls also attain much larger sizes than cows. Bulls can weigh as much as 300 Kg with a shoulder height of 1.4m and cows weigh 210 Kg with a shoulder height of 1.25m. Tawny-brown to grey-brown coat, marked with white stripes on flanks which vary greatly in shape, size and pattern. V-shaped band on forehead and white spots on cheeks. Manes of long hair extend from the back of the head along the back to the tail, as well as on the lower neck to the belly.
As a browser this species feeds on a wide variety of tree and shrub leaves, favoring fruits, pods, forbs and creepers when available. Succulents such as Spekboom and Aloes are also eaten.
In South Africa the rutting season is through April to May. Single calves are born during January-February after a gestation period of nine months. Out-of-season births are not unusual. For the first four to six weeks calves lie up in hiding and are visited by their mothers for nursing. Cows and their young form social groups of four to ten.
Herds of over 20 usually split up into smaller groups. Young cows remain with their mothers' unit, but young bulls form bachelor groups when they reach sexual maturity, normally at two years. Bulls join female herds during mating, but favour other habitats out of the mating season. No territorial spacing exists among bulls, but they do show age and hence size-graded dominance hierarchies.
A kudu in the bush. Kudu prefers dense bush, wooded foot hills of mountain areas, open Knobthorn woodlands in the Kruger National Park and game farms in Mpumalanga, the Mopane and Miombo woodlands of the Northern and North-western Provinces, and countries beyond.
Where they are found
Kudu are distributed widely in South Africa, a common game animal of game reserves, private game farms and even commonly encountered on many farms.