Thursday, July 5, 2018

Red Lechwe

One of the species of mammal we saw on our trip that I'd never heard of before was a red lechwe. We encountered it our first late afternoon in the Okavanga Delta of Botswana when KT, our guide, told us that some leopards were feeding on one. 
Red lechwe in Okavanga Delta. 
The lechwe is a species of antelope that has four subspecies. The red lechwe, the subspecies we saw, is found in the wetlands of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

Other subspecies include the Kafue Flats lechwe, found on the flood plain of the Kafue River in Zambia; the black lechwe, found in the Bangweulu region of Zambia; and the Roberts' lechwe which was found in northeastern Zambia but is now extinct. 
This distribution map from Wiki shows the limited distribution. 

The red lechwe is golden brown (the hue varies with subspecies) and has a white belly. Males are darker. Spiral horns, only on males, are somewhat lyre shaped. Their hind legs are longer than other antelopes which helps them run long distances on marshy ground. They eat aquatic plants in marshy areas and the knee-deep water gives them protection from predators. 


  1. The remind me of impalas, but seem to be furrier and stockier. Is that right? I had never heard of these before this trip.

    1. They are built for marshes and eat marsh type grasses. I'd never heard of them before either.