Common Eland Common Eland
Common Eland

Scientific Classification

Common Name
common eland
Genus Species
Taurotragus (goat like bull) oryx (antelope)

Fast Facts

The eland is one of the largest antelopes. It has fawn coloring and long black spiral horns on both male and female.
Approximately 1.36 to 1.8 m (4.5 to 6 ft.)
Male:  400 to 1000 kg (880 to 2200 lbs.)
Female: 136.4 to 272.7 kg (300 to 600 lbs.)
Herbivore: includes leaves and fruit
Gestation lasts approximately 8 to 9 months; one offspring is born at a time
Sexual Maturity
Male: About 4 years
Female: About 3 years
Life Span
8 to 10 years in the wild
Eastern and Southern Africa, Drakensberg Mountains
Inhabits sparse forests and brush; open territory to semi-deserts
Global: No data
IUCN: Lower Risk/Conservation Dependent
CITES: Not listed
USFWS: Not listed

Fun Facts

  1. The eland is the largest African bovid, but the slowest antelope. It can only run about 40 kph (25 mph), but it can jump 3 m (10 ft.) 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.

Ecology and Conservation

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.