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|M. k. damarensis, female|
Kirk's dik-dik (Madoqua kirkii) is a small antelope found in eastern and southwestern Africa. It grows to 70 cm (28 in) in length and weighs up to 7 kg (15 lb) when fully grown, standing to a shoulder height of about 35–45 cm (14–18 in). It has a reddish-brown head and a tail that is 3.5–5.5 cm (1.4–2.2 in) long.
It has a soft, grizzled gray to brown coat and eats a wide range of plants. It has hooves with rubbery undersides, which are effective when travelling over rocky terrain. Newborns are hidden for two to three weeks, and suckle for three to four months.
Genetic and behavioural evidence suggests Kirk's dik-dik exhibits monogamous behaviour. Genetic analysis of offspring indicates little nonpair parentage. Year-round, Kirk's dik-diks stay close within pairs, follow each other's activity patterns and spend more than half of their time with their partners, although males give no parental care to offspring. The males guard their mates closely during oestrus and over-mark all female scent. This behaviour reduces the likelihood of mating attempts by other males. However, these attempts do occur on occasion. Genetic monogamy in dik-diks is probably best explained by the behaviour of females: in contrast to many monogamous female birds, female dik-diks do not appear to seek to mate outside the pair-bond. However, dik-diks may be considered to be facultatively monogamous (monogamy is imposed by environmental constraints, such as lack of other partners), evidenced by the lack of parental care shown by the male partner.
Usually, four subspecies of Kirk's dik-dik are distinguished, but in fact they may represent three or more distinct species:
- M. k. kirkii Günther, 1880
- M. k. cavendishi Thomas, 1898 – Cavendish's dik-dik
- M. k. damarensis Günther, 1880 – Damara dik-dik
- M. k. hindei Thomas, 1898
- IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). "Madoqua kirkii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
- Brotherton PN, Pemberton JM, Komers PE, Malarky G. Genetic and behavioural evidence of monogamy in a mammal, Kirk's dik-dik (Madoqua kirkii). Proc Biol Sci. 1997 May 22;264(1382):675-81
- Grubb, P. (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
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- Animal, Smithsonian Institution, 2005, pg. 253