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The bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus, Mbawala, Pongo) is a smallish antelope, up to three feet (91 cm) high at the shoulder and about 150 pounds (68 kg). Does are reddish-brown and bucks are darker brown, and have spiral horns. Both sexes sport a distinctive white crescent or ring around the neck, and white spots and stripes. Coat marking varies among the numerous regional variants of the species are known, leading to recognition of around 40 races, although much has yet to be learned about this antelope's taxonomy.

It is fairly common, especially in rugged territory far from habitations, and widely distributed across most habitats throughout Africa. They're not often seen as they are rather shy and favor areas where bush and undergrowth offer good cover from predators. They prefer to be near water but numerous populations are well-adapted to arid regions.

These antelope are considered solitary but, where forage is plentiful, they gather in small herds, dominated by adult females. They often come into the open at dusk, and may roam around after dark. During the breeding season, a dominant buck struts around bossing the females and chasing off other males.

Reproduction is similar to other African antelopes—timed to coincide with the rainy season, when males compete for control of harems. Losing males collect together in small, loosely knit bachelor herds. Young are born within six months of mating enables populations to bounce back following a period of adverse environmental conditions, such as prolonged drought. The calf remains hidden in undergrowth while the female is away browsing, until she returns for suckling. Sexual maturity is reached in a year but a male will not obtain a harem until his horns are fully grown, at three to four years of age.

It takes the niche of small herbivore, elsewhere occupied by gazelles. In this role, it supports its suite of predators. It is primarily a browser, foraging a wide range of species, taking leaves, twigs, flowers and small herbaceous plants.


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