Common Eland

Common Eland



COMMON NAME: common eland
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Artiodactyla
FAMILY: Bovidae
GENUS SPECIES: Taurotragus (goat like bull) oryx (antelope)


DESCRIPTION: The eland is one of the largest antelopes. It has fawn coloring and long black spiral horns on both male and female.
SIZE: Approximately 1.36-1.8 m (4.5-6 ft.)
MALE 400-1000 kg (880-2200 lb.)
FEMALE 136.4-272.7 kg (300-600 lb.)
DIET: Herbivore - includes leaves and fruit
GESTATION: Gestation lasts approximately 8-9 months; one offspring is born at a time
MALE About 4 years
FEMALE About 3 years
LIFE SPAN: 8-10 years in the wild
RANGE: Eastern and Southern Africa, Drakensburg Mountains
HABITAT: Inhabits sparse forests and brush; open territory to semi-deserts
STATUS: IUCN Lower Risk/Conservation Dependent
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed


1. The eland is the largest African bovid, but the slowest antelope. It can only run about 25 mph, but it can jump 10 feet from a standing start.
2. When walking, tendon or joints in the eland's foreleg produce a sharp clicking sound, the cause of which has not been widely investigated. The sound carries some distance and is a good indication of an approaching herd. Some scientists believe it may be a form of communication - if a male is walking through his territory, the clicking which can be heard for up to a mile away, may alert another eland about this territory.
3. It shares characteristics with the ox such as a thick neck and Brahman Bull-like dewlap (especially in males).
4. It is one of the most adaptable ruminants, able to live in a wide array of environments, from desert to savanna, grassland to mountain. The only environments not suitable for an eland are swamps, forest, and deserts.
5. Like its distant gazelle and oryx relatives, the eland can conserve water by raising its body temperature as much as 7° Celsius (13.5° Fahrenheit) on hot days.
6. Elands can also vary their diet, breaking off high branches with their horns.


Elands are an important food source for many larger predators, especially cheetahs, lions, hyenas, African wild dogs, etc.

They have disappeared from large sections of their former range due mainly to over-hunting and habitat loss.

They are considered docile and easily tamed. Africa is attempting to domesticate them for meat and milk production. Eland milk has almost three times the fat and double the protein of milk from dairy cows.


Estes, R.D. The Safari Companion: A Guide to Watching African Mammals. Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing Co., 1993.

Gotch, A.F. Mammals-Their Latin Names Explained. Poole, U.K.: Blandford Press Btd., 1979.

Nowak, Ronald (ed.). Walkers Mammals of the World. Vol. II, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.

Parker, S.P. , (ed.). Grizmek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. Vol 5. New York: McGraw Hill Pub. Co., 1990.