Scientific Name:

Tragelaphus imberbis

The kudus are two species of antelope of the genus Tragelaphus:

  • Lesser kudu, Tragelaphus imberbis, of eastern Africa
  • Greater kudu, Tragelaphus strepsiceros, of eastern and southern Africa

The name of the animal was imported into English in the 18th century from isiXhosa iqhude, via Afrikaans koedoe. Like many other antelope, male kudus can be found in bachelor groups, but they are more likely to be solitary. Their dominance displays tend not to last long and are generally fairly peaceful, consisting of one male making himself look big by making his hair stand on end.


They are a brown-grey colour with white stripes that go down the centre of their body. They are very fast and stealthy. For these facts their other African name is Grey Ghost. The males have tall spiralling horns. The females regularly have no horns. Greater Kudus are more slender than lesser Kudus. Baby Kudus usually are a lighter brown than adult Kudus.


Kudus are browsers and eat leaves and shoots. In dry seasons, they eat wild watermelons and other fruit for the liquid and the natural sugars that they provide. The lesser kudu is less dependent on water sources than the greater kudu.


Lesser kudus come from the savannas near Acacia and Commiphora shrubs. They have to rely on thickets for protection, so they are rarely seen in the open. Their brown and striped pelts help to camouflage them in scrub environments.