06 November 2013

Dozens Of Duiker

I seem to do a lot of camera trapping at places with berg (Afrikaans for mountain) in the name... Maybe it is because most natural areas that remain are situated around areas where human development has been reduced, such as "mountainous terrain".

Earlier this year I hooked up with fellow camera trapper and blogger Jeremy Bolton to place some cameras in his "back yard", the mountains around the Berg River Dam. You can find Jeremy's blog over here. He also offers unique camera trap safaris, of which you can find out more over here.

Berg River Dam near Franschhoek in the Western Cape province of South Africa

In recent history the area has been disturbed by pine plantations and the development of the dam. I always find camera trapping in such areas interesting, to see what species are still around, or have moved back into the area as the natural vegetation returns.

Berg River Dam near Franschhoek

I was pleased to get some photographs of Common Duiker. Common Duiker are widely distributed throughout South Africa, and they differ somewhat in appearance throughout their range. So I always enjoy getting a good photograph of one in a new location.

(1) Common/Grey Duiker (Gewone Duiker - Sylvicapra grimmia) at Berg River Dam in the greater Cape Town area

Nearby (about 80 km away) on the West Coast, just outside Cape Town I photographed a male looking very much the same at the Koeberg Nature Reserve. (Where? Oops, spoiler alert!)

(2) At Koeberg, also in the greater Cape Town area, this male looks very similar to his friend above

About 800 km along the coast in the Eastern Cape province this individual might have a slightly richer colour with darker legs. This photo is from the same camera as the first animal, so that helps the comparison somewhat.

(3) Common Duiker at the Woody Cape near the coast in the Eastern Cape

You can really see the difference when comparing the three coastal specimens in the South to the this daytime photograph taken about 850-1200 km further North and inland from the three previous animals. In the Gauteng province their other common name Grey Duiker now starts to make more sense.

(4) Far away at Suikerbosrand near Johannesburg this individual looks very different

The Duiker in Kruger National Park looks much more like their Gauteng counterparts which are only about 400km way. These Duiker are now over 1 600 km away as the crow flies (in a straight line) from the initial animal near Cape Town. It might be that the Kruger Duikers sport, on average, a longer hairdo but since the length is know to differ I'll need to get my hands on more photographs from both locations to compare.

(5) This dashing lady looks much more similar to the previous animal than the first one
Below is a map of the approximate locations where the above animals were photographed. The numbers correspond with the number given in each photo's caption.

The numbers on the map corresponds to the number given in each of the previous photographs

And now to throw a spanner in the works, I'll wrap up with a photograph of a Cape Grysbok from Berg River Dam. The Cape Grysbok was also a common visitor to the camera traps. They are mostly active at night, but now and again one goes for a stroll during the day.

Cape Grysbok (Kaapse Grysbok - Raphicerus melanotis) looking somewhat sleepy during the day


  1. So glad you have some new posts. Very interesting to see the different duikers and your fascinating wild dogs. Thank you Henry!

  2. Glad you got some good shots at the dam. I don't recall ever getting a Duiker there - but certainly lots of Grysbok.

  3. Thanks for the comments, I'm glad you're enjoying the posts :) I'll try to do a few more before mid December.

    @Jeremy: I'd trade a Duiker for a Cape Fox any day :P

  4. Thanks for the information! I am looking to travel to Cape Town. I was initially scared because of all the news reports about Cape Town's Day Zero - but now that Cape Town has water again I feel ready to go!