Weyns’s Duiker

Weyns’s duikers are one of the numerous antelope species you are likely to encounter during African safaris. These are small antelopes that are scientifically known as Cephalophus weynsi and inhabit areas of western Kenya, Rwanda, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Central African Republic, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In Uganda, you are likely to encounter these antelopes within Kibale Forest and Mount Elgon National Parks whereas in Rwanda you will find them in Nyungwe Forest National Park and finally they inhabit Maiko and Salonga National Parks as well as Okapi Faunal Reserve for the Democratic Republic of Congo.

They are sometimes pronounced as Weyn’s, Weyns or Weyns duikers and are categorized under IUCN’s Red List of least Concern animals that belong to the Bovidae family as well as Cephalophus genus. Their other names also include Mu ‘Nju’, Makpolo, Mongee, Inge, Mungele and Ange.

Interestingly, these duikers are sometimes classified as Eastern sub-species of Peters’ duikers (scientifically known as Cephalophus callipygus) or even as a form of Harvey’s duikers (known as Cephalophus harveyi) much as many authors presently consider them as independent species of their own.  The Eastern populations are said to be relatively smaller in size but both of them have paler underparts and darker legs.

Their heads and body lengths range from 94 to 100 centimeters, their tail lengths are from 10 to 20 centimeters and their average shoulder height is 55 centimeters. The adult weight of the Weyns’s duikers range from 15.9 to 19.5 kilograms.

Their overall skin color is chestnut brown or dull red with an olive tone and members of the Eastern part of the species’ range tend to be darker than those from the Central African species. The front of their faces are normally chocolate brown with mixture of red and black hairs on their foreheads, that have well developed and bright-red crests.

The Eastern species tend to be smaller in size than the central African species. All in all, their under parts are paler and have darker legs while their dorsal midlines tend to be slightly darker colored than the other parts of their bodies.

Both sexes of the Weyns’s duikers have horns much as the ones of females are usually shorter than the ones of their male counterparts. However, typical horn lengths for the latter measure from 8.7 to 11.1 centimeters while the ones of the former are 3.3 to 5.5 centimeters long.

They mainly inhabit patches of lowlands, sub-montane and montane rainforests. The Weyns’s duikers are said to be the second commonest duiker species after the Blue duikers.

They are mainly threatened by human activities such as hunting (using nets) much as they have tried to be resilient to the hunting pressures imposed on them. As interesting as they are, very little is known about them but are said to be diurnal and more social than other duiker species. These antelopes usually live in smaller groups/families comprising of two to five members but are also solitary at times.

Interestingly, they are the commonest medium-sized duikers within their range-mature mixed forests with their average densities being 11.2 individuals per square kilometer.

They are herbivores with their diet comprising of mainly fruits (unripe, ripe and seeds) as well as fungi, flowers and foliage.

Their main predators of the Weyns’s duikers are leopards much as humans also hunt them down. Their world population is said to be around 188,000 (based on estimates).