Red lechwe (Kobus leche leche) male.jpg
male K. l. leche
Nkasa Rupara National Park, Namibia
CITES Appendix II (CITES)[2]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Genus: Kobus
K. leche
Binomial name
Kobus leche
Gray, 1850
Kobus leche range map.png
Distribution range of lechwe

The lechwe, red lechwe, or southern lechwe (Kobus leche) is an antelope found in wetlands of south central Africa.


The lechwe is native to Botswana, Zambia, southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, northeastern Namibia, and eastern Angola, especially in the Okavango Delta, Kafue Flats, and Bangweulu Wetlands.

A single animal may have been recorded in Kakadu National Park along the highway in Northern Territory, Australia, in 2013.[3]


Lechwe stand 90 to 100 cm (35 to 39 in) at the shoulder and weigh from 70 to 120 kg (150 to 260 lb). They are golden brown with white bellies. Males are darker in colour, but general hue varies depending on subspecies. The long, spiral horns are vaguely lyre-shaped and borne only by males. The hind legs are somewhat longer in proportion than in other antelopes to ease long-distance running on marshy soil.


Lechwe are found in marshy areas where they are an important herbivore of aquatic plants.[4] They use the knee-deep water as protection from predators. Their legs are covered in a water-repellant substance which allows them to run quite fast in knee-deep water. Lechwe are diurnal. They gather in herds which can include many thousands of individuals.[5] Herds are usually all of one sex, but during mating season they mix.[6]



Four subspecies of the lechwe have been recognized.[7][8]

In addition the Upemba lechwe (Kobus anselli) is also considered a subspecies by some authorities (as Kobus leche anselli).[9]

Although related and sharing the name "lechwe", the Nile lechwe (K. megaceros) is consistently recognized as a separate species.[8]


Lechwe mate during rain seasons of November to February. They have a gestation period of seven to eight months so a majority of calves are born from July to September. [10] Although rare, hybrids between lechwe and waterbuck have been observed.[11]

See also


  1. ^ IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2017). "Kobus leche". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017: e.T11033A50189021. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T11033A50189021.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Appendices | CITES". cites.org. Retrieved 2022-01-14.
  3. ^ Antelope In Kakadu
  4. ^ Franceschini, M. Celeste; Murphy, Kevin J.; Moore, Isabel; Kennedy, Michael P.; Martínez, Fedra S.; Willems, Frank; De Wysiecki, M. Laura; Sichingabula, Henry (29 July 2020). "Impacts on freshwater macrophytes produced by small invertebrate herbivores: Afrotropical and Neotropical wetlands compared". Hydrobiologia. 847 (17): 3931–3950. doi:10.1007/s10750-020-04360-5. S2CID 220843360.
  5. ^ Windhoek, UrbanCamp net | Camping | Leisure |. "Lechwe". urbancamp.net. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  6. ^ Nefdt, Rory J. C.; Thirgood, Simon J. (1997). "Lekking, resource defense, and harassment in two subspecies of lechwe antelope". Behavioral Ecology. 8: 1–9. doi:10.1093/beheco/8.1.1.
  7. ^ Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 720. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  8. ^ a b Groves, C.; Grubb, P. (2011). Ungulate Taxonomy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 190–1. ISBN 978-1-4214-0093-8.
  9. ^ IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2017). "Kobus leche ssp. anselli". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017: e.T136937A50198198. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T136937A50198198.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  10. ^ Newell, T. 1999. "Kobus leche" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed March 06, 2020 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Kobus_leche/
  11. ^ "Antelope hybrid in the wilds of northern Botswana". Africa Geographic. 19 May 2016. Archived from the original on 7 August 2020.