These peaceful animals are reasonably common in the region and seem to be on the increase in recent years.
They average around 30kg in weight with only the rams having horns which curve forward at the tips. They are found very strictly in areas with steep sloping hills. With their specialised digestive systems they feed almost exclusively on grass and can utilise even the coarse winter grasses.
Groups of 2-5 ewes have territories that they occupy. Rams move around singly and over wide areas. They have a daily routine - at night they move to the tops of the hills, to be safer from predators like caracal. At dawn they move downhill to the slopes to feed until the heat of the day, when most time is spent lying down resting. In the late afternoon they feed intensively while moving uphill.
After a gestation period of 8 months the single lamb is born – usually in early summer. The lamb is hidden by the mother and they are left alone for the first 2 months, this is the risky time for the whole population – the lamb is usually hidden on the hill tops, away from the caracal and jackal, but often near hill top houses and our dogs.
These animals are very adept at communicating with each other by whistling, they use this probably more than any other antelope. The whistle is used for warning and to allow them to remain in contact in the dark or in thick bush. Also when alarmed or excited the tail is lifted to expose the white underside. A dark black spot under the ear varies in size between individuals and can be used to identify the different members in a group.
They are very nervous and are constantly alert, but relax noticeably when in the company of a baboon troop or large antelope like Kudu and Eland.