Taxobox | name = Steenbok
status = LC | status_system = IUCN3.1

image_caption = Female, Namibia
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Artiodactyla
familia = Bovidae
genus = "Raphicerus"
species = "R. campestris"
binomial = "Raphicerus campestris"
binomial_authority = Thunberg, 1811

range_map_caption = Steenbok distribution based on 1970s data.

The Steenbok ("Raphicerus campestris") is a common small antelope of southern and eastern Africa. It is also known as the "Steinbuck" or "Steinbok"; not to be confused with the Dutch-language "steenbok" which is an ibex.


7–19 cm long (see image left). There is a black crescent-shape between the ears, a long black bridge to the glossy black nose, and a black circular scent-gland in front of the eye. The tail is not usually visible, being only 4–6 cm long.

Distribution and Habitat

There are two distinct clusters in Steenbok distribution. In East Africa, it occurs in southern Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. It was formerly widespread in Uganda,Williams, John G. 1967. "A Field Guide to the National Parks of East Africa". Collins, London. (ISBN 0-00-219294-2)] but is now possibly extinct there. In southern Africa, it occurs in Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and probably Lesotho.

Steenbok can use a variety of habitats from semi-desert, such as the edge of the Kalahari Desert and Etosha National Park, to open woodland and thickets, including open plains, stony savannah, and "Acacia"–grassland mosaics. They are said to favour unstable or transitional habitats.Kingdon, Jonathan. 1997. "The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals". Academic Press, San Diego & London. Pp. 387–388. (ISBN 0-12-408355-2)]


Steenbok typically browse on low-level vegetation, but are also adept at scraping up roots and tubers. They will also take fruits and seasonally graze on grass. They are almost entirely independent of drinking water, gaining the moisture they need from their food.


During cool periods, Steenbok are active throughout the day; however, during hotter periods, they rest under shade during the heat of the day. While resting, they may be busy grooming, ruminating or taking brief spells of sleep.


At the first sign of trouble, Steenbok typically lie low in the vegetation. If a predator or perceived threat comes closer, a Steenbok will leap away and follow a zigzag route to try to shake off the pursuer. Escaping Steenbok frequently stop to look back, and flight is alternated with prostration during extended pursuit. They are known to take refuge in the burrows of Aardvarks. Known predators include African Wild Cat, Caracal, Jackals, Leopard, Martial Eagle and Pythons.

relationships (simplified) [cite journal
last = Matthee
first = Conrad A.
coauthors = Scott K. Davis
title = Molecular Insights into the Evolution of the Family Bovidae: A Nuclear DNA Perspective
journal = Molecular Biology and Evolution
volume = 11
pages = 1220–1230
publisher = Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution
date = 2001
url =
accessdate = 2007-06-17
] ]


Steenbok are typically solitary, except for when a pair come together to mate. However, it has been suggested that pairs occupy consistent territories while living independently, staying in contact through scent markings, so that they know where their mate is most of the time. Scent marking is primarily through dung middens. Territories range from 4 hectares to one square kilometre. The male is aggressive during the female's oestrus, engaging in "bluff-and-bluster" type displays with rival males—prolonged contests invariably involve well-matched individuals, usually in their prime.Cohen, Michael. 1976. The Steenbok: A neglected species. "Custos" (April 1976): 23–26.]

Breeding occurs throughout the year, although more fawns are born November to December in the southern spring–summer; some females may breed twice a year. Gestation period is about 170 days, and usually a single precocious fawn is produced. The fawn is kept hidden in vegetation for 2 weeks, but they suckle for 3 months. Females become sexually mature at 6–8 months and males at 9 months.

Steenbok are known to live for 7 years or more.


Two subspecies are recognized: "R. c. campestris" in Southern Africa and "R. c. naumanni" of East Africa. Up to 24 subspecies have been described from Southern Africa, distinguished on such features as coat colour.


External links

* [ Wild About You (info and image)]
* [ The Ultimate Ungulate factsheet]
* [ IUCN Red List]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • steenbok — 1775, from Afrikaans steenbok, from M.Du. steenboc, lit. stone buck, cognate with O.E. stanbucca mountain goat, Ger. Steinbock …   Etymology dictionary

  • steenbok — [stēn′buk΄, stān′buk΄stēn′bäk΄, stān′bäk΄] n. pl. steenbok or steenboks [Afrik < Du steen,STONE + bok,BUCK1] STEINBOK: also steenbuck [stēn′buk΄, stān′buk΄] …   English World dictionary

  • Steenbok — Steen bok ( b[o^]k ), n. [D. steen stone + bok buck.] (Zo[ o]l.) Same as {Steinbock}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Steenbok — Raphicerus Raphicerus …   Wikipédia en Français

  • steenbok — ● steinbock ou steenbok nom masculin (néerlandais steenbok, bouquetin) Petite antilope d Afrique australe armée de petites cornes droites et noires. ⇒STEINBO(C)K, STEENBO(C)K, (STEINBOK, STEINBOCK, STEENBOK, STEENBOCK)subst. masc. ZOOL. Espèce d… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • steenbok — Steinbock Stein bock , n. [G. stein stone + bock buck, D. bok. Cf. {Steenbok}.] (Zo[ o]l.) (a) The European ibex. (b) A small South African antelope ({Nanotragus tragulus}) which frequents dry, rocky districts; called also {steenbok}. [Written… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • steenbok — /ˈstinbɒk/ (say steenbok) noun (plural steenboks, steenbok) a small southern African antelope, Raphicerus campestris, frequenting rocky places, and lacking dewclaws. Also, steinbok. {Afrikaans, from Dutch: ibex, from steen stone + bok antelope} …   Australian English dictionary

  • steenbok — or steinbok noun Etymology: Afrikaans steenbok, from Dutch, ibex, from Middle Dutch steenboc; akin to Old English stānbucca ibex, stān stone, bucca buck Date: 1775 a small slender antelope (Raphicerus campestris) with long legs that inhabits… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • steenbok — /steen bok , stayn /, n., pl. steenboks, (esp. collectively) steenbok. a small antelope, Raphicerus campestris, of grassy areas of eastern and southern Africa. Also, steinbok. [1765 75; < Afrik < D steen STONE + bok BUCK1] * * * …   Universalium

  • steenbok — savaninė antilopikė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Raphicerus campestris angl. steenbok; steinbock; steinbok vok. Steinantilope; Steinböckchen; Steinbock rus. обыкновенный стенбок pranc. raphicre… …   Žinduolių pavadinimų žodynas