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Red lechwe (Kobus leche leche) male.jpg
male K. l. leche
Nkasa Rupara National Park, Namibia
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Genus: Kobus
K. leche
Binomial name
Kobus leche
Gray, 1850
Kobus leche range map.png
Distribution range of lechwe

The lechwe (Kobus leche), red lechwe or southern lechwe, is an antelope found in wetlands of south central Africa.


It is native to Botswana, Zambia, southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, northeastern Namibia, and eastern Angola, especially in the Okavango Delta, Kafue Flats and the Bangweulu Swamps.


Lechwe stand 90 to 100 cm (35 to 39 in) at the shoulder and weigh from 70 to 120 kg (150 to 260 lb). They are golden brown with white bellies. Males are darker in colour, but general hue varies depending on subspecies. The long, spiral-structured horns are vaguely lyre-shaped, they are found only in males. The hind legs are somewhat longer in proportion than in other antelopes, to ease long-distance running in marshy soil.


Lechwe are found in marshy areas where they eat aquatic plants. They use the knee-deep water as protection from predators. Their legs are covered in a water-repellant substance which allows them to run quite fast in knee-deep water. Lechwe are diurnal. They gather in herds which can include many thousands of individuals.[citation needed] Herds are usually all of one sex, but during mating season they mix.[2]



Four subspecies of the lechwe have been recognized.[3][4]

In addition the Upemba lechwe (Kobus anselli) is also considered a subspecies by some authorities (as Kobus leche anselli).[5]

Although related and sharing the name "lechwe", the Nile lechwe (K. megaceros) is consistently recognized as a separate species.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2017). "Kobus leche". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2017: e.T11033A50189021. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T11033A50189021.en. Retrieved 12 January 2018. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of Near Threatened.
  2. ^ Nefdt, Rory JC, and Simon J. Thirgood. "Lekking, resource defense, and harassment in two subspecies of lechwe antelope." Behavioral Ecology 8.1 (1997): 1-9.
  3. ^ Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 720. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  4. ^ a b Groves, C.; Grubb, P. (2011). Ungulate Taxonomy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 190–1. ISBN 1-4214-0093-6.
  5. ^ IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). "Kobus leche anselli". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 23 November 2016.

External links[edit]