The steinbuck is found in the southern and eastern savanna of Africa. There are two main populations of steinbuck, separated from one another by the miombo woodlands (Kingdon, 1982).
Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )
The steinbuck is a small antelope (Stuart and Stuart, 1995). The length of its head and body ranges from 70 - 95 cm. The shoulder height varies from 45 - 60 cm. The tail is very short, with total length ranging from 4 - 6 cm (Kingdon, 1982). The horns are only found on males; they range in height from 9- 19 cm (Kingdon, 1982) and are vertical in orientation (Stuart and Stuart, 1995). The coloration of the steinbuck is reddish-fawn, with a white throat and belly. They also have large, white lined ears. The hooves are sharp and serve a variety of functions (Kingdon, 1982).
Range mass: 7 to 16 kg.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Average basal metabolic rate: 20.619 W.
Zambezian Halophytics Habitat
The Makgadikgadi spiny agama (Agama hispida makarikarika) is endemic to the Makgadikgadi Pans complex within the Botswana element of the Zambezian halophytics ecoregion. This agama typically inhabits the edges of the pans but it is difficult to spot, since it buries itself in the sand during the heat of the day.
One of the largest saltpans in the world, the Makgadikgadi Pan complex in Botswana stretches out over 12,000 square kilometres. The ecoregion is classified within the Flooded Grasslands and Savanna biome. Surrounded by the semi-arid Kalahari savannas, the pans experience a harsh climate, hot with little rain, and are normally a vast, glaring expanse of salt-saturated clay. These pans are sustained by freshwater from the Nata River, and more infrequently, from input from the Okavango Alluvial Fan by way of the Boteti River. Saline- and drought-tolerant plant species generally line the pan perimeters, with grasslands further removed from the pans.
For most of the year the pans are depauperate in bird numbers, except for ostriches and species such as the Chestnut-banded sand-plover and Kittlitz’s plover (Charadrius pallidus, C. pecuarius). The sole hospitable area to birds during these times is the Nata Delta, which has a permanent water source and a small resident population of waterbirds including grebes (Podiceps spp.), cormorants (Phalacrocorax spp.), ducks and plovers (Charadrius spp.) with a few flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber, Phoeniconaias minor) and pelicans (Pelecanus spp.). The grasslands surrounding the pans support a moderate bird fauna with species such as ostriches, secretary birds (Sagittarius serpentarius), kori bustards (Ardeotis kori), korhaans (Eupodotis spp.), sandgrouse (Pterocles spp.) and francolin (Francolinus spp.) being common. The Hyphaene palms to the west of the pans are nesting sites for, among others, the greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides) and the palm-nut vulture (Gypohierax angolensis). After good rains the pans are transformed into a vibrant paradise, attracting thousands of waterbirds, most of which come to breed on the pans. Wattled and southern crowned cranes (Grus carunculatus, Balearica regulorum), saddle-billed, marabou and open-billed storks (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis, Leptoptilos crumeniferus, Anastomus lamelligerus), African fish eagles (Haliaeeetus vocifer), black-necked grebes (Podiceps nigricollis), Caspian terns (Hydroprogne caspia), eastern white and pink-backed pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus, P. rufescens), geese and waders such as avocets (Recurvirostra avosetta), black-winged stilts (Himantopus himantopus), plovers, sandpipers and teals (Anas spp.) congregate around the pans. The most spectacular arrival are the greater and lesser flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber and Phoeniconaias minor) that flock to the pans in their thousands.
Most mammalian taxa within the ecoregion inhabit the grasslands surrounding the pans. These include Hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus), Gemsbok (Oryx gazella), Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis), Steenbok (Raphicerus campestris), Greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardus), Burchells zebra (Equus burchelli), Blue wildebeest (Connocheatus taurinus), black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas), Brown hyaena (Hyaena brunnea), Spotted hyaena (Crocuta crocuta), Lion (Panthera leo), Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), Painted hunting dog (Lycaon pictus) and even African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) along the Boteti River. The Nxai Pan has a sizeable Springbok population and is one of the few places where Springbok and Impala cohabit. These two antelope are normally separated by habitat preference, but the Acacia savanna surrounding Nxai Pan provides the impala with a suitable habitat while the grass covered pan mimics the desert conditions preferred by Springbok.
- A. Campbell. 1990. The nature of Botswana: a guide to conservation and development. IUCN, Harare, Zimbabwe. ISBN: 2880329345
- C.MIchael Hogan & World Wildlife Fund. 2015. Zambezian halophytics. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and Environment. Washington DC
Steinbucks prefer open areas, but they require cover nearby (Stuart and Stuart, 1995). Steinbucks are never found in wooded or broken areas. They are beginning to be found in slightly wooded areas and areas where the environment is more open due to cultivation and road building (Kingdon, 1982).
Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland
Habitat and Ecology
The diet of the steinbuck ranges from grasses to roots and tubers of some plants. Steinbucks prefer the shoots of buchland trees and shrubs. They prefer foods that are rich and easily digestible. Steinbuck tend to eat more grasses in the early rainy season or after burns (Kingdon, 1982).
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Status: captivity: 9.3 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Steinbucks breed throughout the year (Kingdon, 1982), but calves are usually born in the summer (Stuart and Stuart, 1995). The interval between births ranges from five and a half to nine months. The gestation period ranges from 168 - 177 days. At birth, the young steinbucks weigh around one kilogram. Within five minutes of birth, steinbucks begin to feed from their mothers. Steinbucks begin to eat grass around two weeks after birth (Kingdon, 1982). For the first few weeks, young steinbucks remain hidden (Stuart and Stuart, 1995). Steinbucks are weaned in three months (Kingdon, 1982).
Range number of offspring: 1 to 2.
Range gestation period: 5.6 to 5.9 months.
Average weaning age: 3 months.
Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual
Average birth mass: 920 g.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
Sex: male: 243 days.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female: 238 days.
Parental Investment: altricial
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Raphicerus campestris
Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen.
Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.
-- end --
Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Raphicerus campestris
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
In Africa, steinbucks have been hunted for sport and meat. They are captured by snaring or by hunting with dogs (Kingdon, 1982).
Positive Impacts: food ; body parts are source of valuable material
It is sometimes known as the steinbuck or steinbok.
Steenbok resemble small Oribi, standing 45–60cm (16"-24") at the shoulder. Their pelage (coat) is any shade from fawn to rufous, typically rather orange. The underside, including chin and throat, is white, as is the ring around the eye. Ears are large with "finger-marks" on the inside. Males have straight, smooth, parallel horns 7–19 cm long (see image left). There is a black crescent-shape between the ears, a long black bridge to the glossy black nose, and a black circular scent-gland in front of the eye. The tail is not usually visible, being only 4–6 cm long.
There are two distinct clusters in steenbok distribution. In East Africa, it occurs in central and southern Kenya and Tanzania. It was formerly widespread in Uganda, but is now possibly extinct there. In southern Africa, it occurs in Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and probably Lesotho.
Steenbok live in a variety of habitats from semi-desert, such as the edge of the Kalahari Desert and Etosha National Park, to open woodland and thickets, including open plains, stony savannah, and Acacia–grassland mosaics. They are said to favour unstable or transitional habitats. At least in the central part of Kruger National Park, South Africa, Steenbok show a distinct preference for Acacia tortilis savannah throughout the year, with no tendency to migrate to moister areas during the dry season (unlike many African savannah ungulates, including species sympatric with Steenbok in the wet season).
Steenbok typically browse on low-level vegetation (they cannot reach above 0.9 m), but are also adept at scraping up roots and tubers. In central Kruger National Park, Steenbok show a distinct preference for forbs, and then woody plants (especially Flueggea virosa) when few forbs are available. They will also take fruits and only very rarely graze on grass. They are almost entirely independent of drinking water, gaining the moisture they need from their food.
During cool periods, steenbok are active throughout the day; however, during hotter periods, they rest under shade during the heat of the day. While resting, they may be busy grooming, ruminating or taking brief spells of sleep.
At the first sign of trouble, steenbok typically lie low in the vegetation. If a predator or perceived threat comes closer, a steenbok will leap away and follow a zigzag route to try to shake off the pursuer. Escaping steenbok frequently stop to look back, and flight is alternated with prostration during extended pursuit. They are known to take refuge in the burrows of Aardvarks. Known predators include African wild cat, caracal, jackals, leopard, martial eagle and pythons.
Steenbok are typically solitary, except for when a pair come together to mate. However, it has been suggested that pairs occupy consistent territories while living independently, staying in contact through scent markings, so that they know where their mate is most of the time. Scent marking is primarily through dung middens. Territories range from 4 hectares to one square kilometre. The male is aggressive during the female's oestrus, engaging in "bluff-and-bluster" type displays with rival males—prolonged contests invariably involve well-matched individuals, usually in their prime.
Breeding occurs throughout the year, although more fawns are born November to December in the southern spring–summer; some females may breed twice a year. Gestation period is about 170 days, and usually a single precocious fawn is produced. The fawn is kept hidden in vegetation for 2 weeks, but they suckle for 3 months. Females become sexually mature at 6–8 months and males at 9 months.
Steenbok are known to live for 7 years or more.
Two subspecies are recognized: R. c. campestris in Southern Africa and R. c. naumanni of East Africa; although MSW3 also recognizes capricornis and kelleni. Up to 24 subspecies have been described from Southern Africa, distinguished on such features as coat colour.
Male, Etosha National Park
- IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). "Raphicerus campestris". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
- Williams, John G. 1967. A Field Guide to the National Parks of East Africa. Collins, London. (ISBN 0-00-219294-2)
- Kingdon, Jonathan. 1997. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press, San Diego & London. Pp. 387–388. (ISBN 0-12-408355-2)
- Du Toit, Johan T. 1993. The feeding ecology of a very small ruminant, the steenbok (Raphicerus campestris). African Journal of Ecology 31: 35–48.
- Du Toit, J.T. 1990. Feeding-height stratification among African browsing ruminants. African Journal of Ecology 28: 55–61.
- Cohen, Michael. 1976. The Steenbok: A neglected species. Custos (April 1976): 23–26.
- Matthee, Conrad A.; Scott K. Davis (2001). "Molecular Insights into the Evolution of the Family Bovidae: A Nuclear DNA Perspective". Molecular Biology and Evolution (Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution) 11 (7): 1220–1230. PMID 11420362. Retrieved 2007-06-17.
- Grubb, P. (2005). "Order Artiodactyla". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 688. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.