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An Ultimate Ungulate Fact Sheet
Cephalophus niger
Black duiker
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Common name:
Scientific name:
Other names:
Black duiker
Cephalophus niger
Céphalophe noir, Schwarzducker, Duiquer negro, Tuba, Ewi (or Ewio), Wi (or Wio), Owin, Gyame (or Gyami), Kutu, Odu, Duiyaya, Kedu, Kuma, Mo

Physical Characteristics

Head and body length: 90-100 cm
Shoulder height: 45-50 cm
Tail length: 9-4 cm
Adult weight: 17-26 kg

Females tend to be slightly larger than males, but otherwise the sexes are similar. The coat is soft and black in color. The underparts are slightly paler than the back, except for the underside of the tail which is bright white. The neck becomes increasingly gray near the head, such that the throat and chin are pale gray. The face is often reddish in color, with a bright red tuft of hair on the forehead. Both sexes have straight, pointed horns which angle back from the forehead; in males they are usually 7-9 cm long, while in females they are much shorter, only 2-3 cm.

Similar species
  • Abbott's duiker (Cephalophus spadix) is similarly dark in color with a bright rufous forehead crest. It is, however, much larger than the black duiker and is restricted to the mountains of Tanzania.

Reproduction and Development

Gestation period: Probably 7 months.
Litter size: 1.
Weaning: Approximately 3 months.
Sexual maturity: Females by 12 months.
Life span: Up to 14 years.

Black duikers breed year-round, although in Ghana there is a peak in births in November, December, and January. Birth weights average 1.94 kg. Males tend to grow more quickly than females, but both sexes double in weight in their first month.

Ecology and Behavior

The black duiker tends to be most active around dawn and dusk (crepuscular); in undisturbed areas it may be more diurnal, while increased human activity may cause a shift towards a more nocturnal existence. Resting spots are typically found in dense thickets or in between buttress roots of large trees. It has been suggested - but not confirmed - that this species is territorial. Black duikers are frequently observed in farmland, where they are often considered pests: they will raid crops on a regular basis. Cultivated crops make up a large proportion of the diet in some regions (as determined from the stomachs of individuals killed for bushmeat).
Family group: Typically solitary; sometimes observed in pairs.
Diet: Mostly fruit; also leaves and shoots, roots, fungi, and animal matter.
Main Predators: Leopard, rock python.

Habitat and Distribution

The black duiker is most frequently seen in secondary forest and farmbush. Primary forest is rarely used. The approximate range is depicted in the map below.

Range Map
(Redrawn from IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group, 2008)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List: Near threatened (2008).
CITES Listing: Not listed (2011).
Threats: Hunting.

The wild population is estimated at 100,000 individuals. Unlike many other duikers, the black duiker does well in disturbed forests around agricultural areas. It is one of the most common duikers in Ghana.

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