Africa has a superabundance of antelopes, and one of the cutest and most unusual is the Klipspringer. Literally ‘rock-jumper’ in Afrikaans, this tiny antelope is rarely found far from rocky outcrops (or koppies)  or mountainous outcrops. My only sighting until this year had been a distant speck on a far off koppie in Kenya, but this pair (they live in pairs) came very close to my safari vehicle in Madikwe in South Africa.

klpspringerKlipspringers walk on the tips of their hooves, and are very nimble climbers

IMG_4978They are small, at about 58 cm (23 in) at the shoulder

IMG_4980The males have horns

female klipspringerFemale Klipspringers have horns in East Africa, but not in South Africa

female eatingOne member of the pair keeps watch for eagles and leopards while the other feeds.

Written by Duncan
Duncan Wright is a Wellington-based ornithologist working on the evolution of New Zealand's birds. He's previously poked albatrosses with sticks in Hawaii, provided target practice for gulls in California, chased monkeys up and down hills Uganda, wrestled sharks in the Bahamas and played God with grasshopper genetics in Namibia. He came into studying birds rather later in life, and could quit any time he wants to.