Striped-backed duiker

Striped-backed duiker


Order: Artiodactyla

Order: Artiodactyla                                                                               Family: Bovidae                                   

Scientific name: Cephalophus zebra                                                   U.S. common name: Striped-backed duiker  

Other names: Zebra duiker, banded duiker  

Status in the wild: Classified as vulnerable by IUCN

Major threats: Habitat loss and bush meat trade  

Geographic range currently: Western Sierra Leone to the central Ivory Coast 

Habitat: Favors lowland forest but may also live in low montane and hill forests.  

Circadian cycle: Crepuscular and nocturnal  




General range                       male                                       female                                                    birth


Head to rump length:                               700-900 mm                                                                   

Tail length:                                               100-150 mm                     

Head & tail length:                                  800-1050 mm                                                                                                                                     

Shoulder height:                                      400-500 mm                                                                                                                                   

Weight:                                                      9-20 kg                                                                                                                                                1 kg        

Sexual dimorphism: Females are slightly larger than males. Both sexes carry horns with male’s horns 40-50 mm long, and female’s horns 20-25 mm long.                                                                     




Mating Season: Aseasonal  

Birthing season: Aseasonal  

Gestation period: 221-229 days  

Courtship: Males engage in persistent following and licking of the female’s vulva. Urinating females squat deeply, and males make a weak grimace while

                    urine-testing. It is common in captivity for a male to drive the female relentlessly, nudging, licking, and biting her posterior until the vulva become

                    red and swollen; to chase her hard when she flees, threatening and sometimes butting her; and to prod her with feet and horns when she lies down.

                    Unreceptive females try to ward off a driving male by presenting her horns or by symbolic biting, and may bleat in distress. Both sexes may give

                    soft calls during courtship.  

Copulation: Copulation is brief at 1-3 seconds, and the male holds his head up.  

Number of mammae: Four 

Sexual maturity: Females at 9-12 months, and males at 12-18 months.  



Rearing and young


Young called: Calf  

Number of young (range): One, rarely two  

First leave pouch/den/hide/nest: Calf lies concealed, away from the dam for 2-3 months.  

Weaned: At the latest, 5 months.  






Life expectancy: 10-12 years  

Social structure: They are sedentary and are found alone or in pairs.  

Unique behavior(s): Females mark their young with a secretion from the maxillary gland, which may facilitate distinguishing and recognizing their young.

                                   Safety depends on concealment, duikers may freeze mid-stride, sink down in place when approached by an enemy if not detected or

                                   dashes a short distance into cover.  

Coat & coloration: The coat is a light yellow to a reddish yellow, the underparts are a cream color. The nape of the neck and lower legs are darker reddish-

                                  brown. Upper legs are almost black. The forelock is short or lacking and there are 12-15 vertical stripes on the body.  

Dental Formula: 0/3 I, 0/1 C, 3/2-3 PM, 3/3 M = 30-32 total.    

Diet: Leaves, buds, young shoots, grasses, herbs, berries, fruit, termites, ants, snails, eggs, and probably also birds.  






Nowak, Ronald M. (ed.) 1999.Walker’s Mammals of the World Vol. 2 (6th edition).The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.

Grzimek, Bernhard 1990. Grzimek’s Encyclopedia of Mammals, Vol. 5. McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, New York.

Estes, Richard D. 1991.  The Behavior Guide to African Mammals.  The University of California Press, Berkeley.

Kingdon, Jonathan 1997. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals.   Academic Press, London.

        Alden, Peter C. et al. 1995. National Audubon Society Field Guide to African Wildlife.  Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York.