For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bongo (Antelope) - Tragelaphus eurycerus eurycerus

The Bongo sports a bright auburn or chestnut coat, with the neck, chest and legs generally darker than the rest of the body. Coats of male Bongos become darker and buffy as they age until they reach a dark mahogany-brown colour. Coats of female Bongos are usually more brightly coloured than those of males.


A white chevron appears between the eyes and two large white spots grace each cheek. There is another white chevron where the neck meets the chest. The large ears are to sharpen hearing, and the distinctive coloration may help Bongos identify one another in their dark forest habitats. Bongos have no special secretion glands and so rely less on scent to find one another than do other similar antelopes. The lips of a bongo are white, topped with a black muzzle.
 Like other forest ungulates, bongos are seldom seen in large groups. Males, called bulls, tend to be solitary while groups of females with young live in groups of 6 to 8. Bongos have seldom been seen in herds of more than 20. Gestation is approximately 285 days (9.5 months) with one young per birth with weaning at 6 months. Sexual maturity is reached at 24–27 months.


Like many forest ungulates bongos are herbivorous browsers and feed on tree/bush leaves, bushes, vines, bark and pith of rotting trees, grasses/herbs, roots, cereals, shrubs and fruits.
 Bongos require salt in their diet, and are known to regularly visit natural salt licks. Examination of bongo feces revealed that the charcoal from trees burnt by lightning is consumed. They have been known to eat burned wood after lightning storms. This behavior is believed to be a means of getting salts and minerals into their diet (See Animal Diversity link 2). This behavior has also been reported in the Okapi. Another similarity to the okapi, even though the bongo is unrelated, is that the bongo has a long prehensile tongue which it uses to grasp grasses and leaves.


Suitable habitats for bongos must have permanent water available. A large animal, the bongo requires an ample amount of food, and is restricted to areas with abundant year-round growth of herbs and low shrubs. Such restrictions have been said to account for the animal's limited distribution.

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