Kirk's Dik-dik

Kirk's Dik-dik
Kirk's Dik-dik
M. k. damarensis, female
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Genus: Madoqua
Species: M. kirkii
Binomial name
Madoqua kirkii
(Günther, 1880)

Kirk's Dik-dik (Madoqua kirkii) is a small antelope found in eastern and southwestern Africa. It grows to 70 centimetres (28 in) in length and weighs up to 7 kilograms (15 lb) when full grown. It has a reddish-brown head and a tail that is 35–55 cm (14–22 in) long.

It has a soft, grizzled gray to brown coat, and eats a wide range of plants. It has hooves with rubbery bottoms, which are effective when traveling over rocky terrain. Newborns are hidden for 2–3 weeks, and suckle for 3–4 months.

Genetic and behavioural evidence suggests that Kirk's Dik-dik exhibits fidelity in monogamous behaviour. Genetic analysis of off-spring indicate little non-pair 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. The males guard their mates closely during oestrus and over-mark all female scent. This behaviour reduces the likelihood of other males attempting to mate, however, males do attempt to mate with other females 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.[2]


Usually four subspecies of Kirk's Dik-dik are distinguished, but in fact they may represent three or more distinct species[3]:

  • M. k. kirkii
  • M. k. cavendishi (Thomas, 1898) – Cavendish's Dik-dik
  • M. k. damarensis – Damara Dik-dik
  • M. k. hindei



  1. ^ "Madoqua kirkii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. 2008. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Grubb, Peter (16 November 2005). Wilson, Don E., and Reeder, DeeAnn M., eds. ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2 vols. (2142 pp.). ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  • Animal, Smithsonian Institution, 2005, pg. 253

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