Scientific Name: Cephalophus niger
Duiker in Afrikaans means diver, which is appropriate as duikers have a characteristic habit of diving for cover in the forest or bush. They are sometimes called diving bucks.
The scent glands below their eyes are used for marking their territory and each other as there is considerable mutual grooming. They live singly or in pairs, and when necessary they will fight with blunt strokes of the forehead to instill injury with their short horns.
STATUS: Black duikers are listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).The major threat to their survival is hunting for the bushment trade.
HABITAT: The black duiker inhabits areas in West Africa from Guinea eastward to Nigeria along the coast. It lives in dense lowland forests.
DIET: Duikers are considered browsers in that they mainly eat leaves, fruits, shoots, buds seeds and bark and will sometimes climb on low logs to reach their food. They may also consume small birds, rodents, insects and carrion and even though they are mainly browsers, they are able to digest the animal protein well.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISITICS: Duikers have the perfect shape for diving for cover in the forest; they are short, with arched backs and have forelegs that are shorter than their hind legs. The black duiker is more heavily built than the red flanked duiker, measuring approximately 32 inches (head and body length), with a height of 18 inches and weight to 40 pounds. Both males and females have horns that are six inches long that are often hidden in a tuft of hair that grows between the horns. The horns are short and straight. Black duikers are brown to black in color. They have long narrow heads, and large scent glands beneath the eyes that include a series of pores rather than of a single opening. Their brain relative to size is larger than all of the antelopes. The tail of the duiker has a tassel. They have a hesitant high stepping or bouncing gait with sharp eyes and a good sense of hearing and smell.
In a Nutshell
Breeding and births tend to occur year round as young animals have been seen during the wet and dry season. Gestation is about six and one-half months. Duikers are considered precocial but are concealed in vegetation by their mother for several weeks after birth. They are sexually mature when they are about one year old, but probably do not breed until later. Lifespan in captivity is up to 15 years.