Gray duiker, common duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia)

This little antelope has the widest distribution of any African antelope. The Gray duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia) is also known as the common duiker, bush duiker, Grimm’s duiker or savannah duiker. The name grey duiker comes from its characteristic grayish coloring with a vaguely speckled appearance and lives in savannah woodland and grassland habitats. The other 19 duiker species of Africa are forest and thicket dwellers that inhabit dense canopy shadow.

The gray duiker is widespread in east and southern Africa, in Uganda it occurs and can easily be seen in Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, Kidepo Valley, Lake Mburo as well as in Mount Elgon National Parks.

Gray duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia)


This speices of duiker is found in areas of central, eastern, and southern Africa which provide sufficient amounts of cover. They inhabit savannas, grasslands, and woodlands. They also live in mountainous regions and are found at higher altitudes than any other African ungulates. They are not found in deserts or densely wooded areas such as the rainforests.


Duiker are equally active during the day and night. They feed predominantly during dusk and dawn in the cooler day hours and up to 3 hours after sunset. They usually spend the hot midday hours resting under the cover of thick vegetation but may be found walking around during midday hours on overcast and rainy days.

Because ultra-violet radiation from sunlight kills many exterior body parasites, the duiker can be found standing or lying down in the early morning sun to groom its pelage and remove parasites and accumulated dirt.

Fixed paths, escape routes, resting places, open patches for feeding and grooming and latrines within their home range are heavily imprinted on a duiker mind. They hide in this network and use it to escape threat or danger. They seldom flee for a longer distance than 30-70 m and move in half circles that rarely exceed the perimeter of the imprinted home range.

When in extreme danger, such as when being chased by dogs, the flight can extend across two or three home ranges after which it returns within 48 hours.

Grey duiker or common duiker Sylvicapra grimmia

Food Habits

Gray Duiker does not pick the side leaves from branches or twigs or strip leaves as seen with kudu, giraffe Giraffe, eland, and oryx. It will not consume any woody matter that are lignified. Thus the duiker is classified as a highly selective concentrate feeder. Apart from growth ends, berries and the fruit of most plant species, the diet also consists of insects, small reptiles and birds, young grass leaves and mushrooms. Bulbs and nutritious plant roots are frequently dug up.

In uncommon instances, duikers have been seen stalking and eating lizards, frogs, rodents, birds and nibbling on fresh animal carcasses has also been recorded. Water requirements are met from moisture in the vegetation they consume.


  • Furstenburg, Deon. (2008). Focus on the Common / Grey Duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia). 11022. 38-41. Download here
  • Estes, R. 1991. The Behavior Guide to African Mammals. Los Angeles: The University of California Press
  • Kingdon, J. 1982. East African Mammals – An Atlas of Evolution in Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Bradt Travel Guides, Uganda, By Philip Briggs, Andrew Roberts.