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bovid family
bovid family
other herbivores

wildlife (back to intro)

in this section
Blue Duiker
Gazelle tribe
Thomson's gazelle
Grant's gazelle
Kob antelope
Sable antelope
Oryx or Gemsbok
Topi or Tsessebe
Common Wildebeest
Greater Kudu
Common eland
African or Cape buffalo
Common Eland: Tragelaphus (Taurotragus) oryx

The eland is by far the largest African bovid and has ox-like characteristics.


Weight and Height
males: wt 990-2072 lb (450-942 kg), ht 60-73 in (150-183 cm)
females: wt 697-1034 lb (317-470 kg), ht 50-61 in (125-153 cm)

1 or 2 twists; generally 17-26 in (43-67 cm) in males; in females longer(20-27 in (51-69.6 cm)) but much thinner.

smooth on most of body with a rough mane

Tan to reddish -- darker in north; 10-16 white torso stripes, markings on legs; dark garters, forehead, and tail.

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General Locations
Most arid zones and savannas in southern Sudan and all the way down to South Africa, west to Namibia and Angola. There is a low density of eland in Africa because of disease, human settlement, and poaching. There are typically 3 elands/sq mi (1.2/sq km). The eland has been reintroduced on many farms in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The eland can be found in the following national parks and reserves: Nairobi and Tsavo NP, Masai Mara NR, Kenya; Serengeti, Ruaha, and Tarangire NP, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania; Kagera NP, Rwanda; Nyika NP, Malawi; Luangwa Valley and Kafue NP, Zambia; Hwange and Matobo NP, Tuli Safari Area, Zimbabwe; Kruger NP, Giant's Castle GR, Suikerbosrand NR, South Africa.

Elands inhabit subdesert, savanna, woodlands, grasslands, and mountaintops up to 15,000 ft (4600 m). They will avoid swamps, forests, and deserts. Elands have not adapted to desert conditions, but use the same type of water conservation that a desert dweller would use. For example, the eland allows its body temperature to rise as much as 13.5* F (7* C) instead of using energy to cool itself off.

Elands typically feed on foliage, but also eat a variety of seeds, seedpods, herbs, and tubers. During the rainy season, however, 50 to 80% of their diet is green grass.

The eland is both diurnal and nocturnal. Elands feed for long periods of time in order to keep their hefty build. In cooler weather, elands feed and sleep throughout the day and then feed most of the night as well. In hot weather, however, elands rest during the day and then feed all night.

Social Systems
The common eland is known for forming larger herds which contain interchangeable members. Some herds contain as many as 500 members which range together on the grasslands. In Nairobi, for example, herds of calves averaged about 48 members while mixed and single sex adult herds contained anywhere from 3 to 12 members.

The home ranges of females and young are generally very large. Most of them are at least 67 sq. mi (174 sq km) and are often as large at 162 sq mi (422 sq km). Bulls' home ranges vary from 5 to 23 sq mi (16-60 sq mi).

There is not really a fixed mating system. However, most peaks are at the end of the dry season (births) and during the rainy season (mating). The gestation period for elands is 8 or 9 months. Females are capable of conceiving by the age of 2.5, while males mature by the age of 4 or 5.

Lion and spotted hyena are the most common predators.

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