Common Eland

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Mammals

iCommon Eland

Conservation status

Conservation dependent (LR/cd)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Bovinae
Genus: Taurotragus
Species: T. oryx
Binomial name
Taurotragus oryx
Pallas, 1766

The Common Eland, or Southern Eland, (Taurotragus oryx) is a savannah and plain antelope found in East and Southern Africa.

The Common Eland stands around two metres at the shoulder and weighs 275 kilograms (600 lb) to a tonne (2,200 lb). Females are sometimes less than half the weight of adult males. This species and the so-called Giant Eland, which are actually about the same size as the Common, are the largest of world's "antelopes". Common Eland females have a tan coat while the males' coat is a darker tan with a blue tinge to it, there may be a single white stripe vertically placed on the sides. The males have dense fur on their foreheads and a large dewlap. Both sexes have horns, which are about 65 centimetres (26 in) long and almost straight. The horns of the female are longer but thinner than those of the male.

Common Eland live on the savannah and eat grass, branches and leaves. They are diurnal but tend towards inactivity during the heat of the day. Herds are usually between thirty and eighty individuals but are known to reach upwards of four hundred. The Common Eland has an unusual social life. They come and go, taking advantage of herd life when they need to without forming close ties.

They "are very agile and can easily jump a 1.5 m fence from a standing start" (sign from Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo, NSW, Australia).

Common Eland are sometimes considered part of the genus Tragelaphus but it is usually categorised as Taurotragus with the Giant Eland.


The name "eland" is derived form the Dutch word for elk (or moose). When Dutch settlers came to the Cape Province they named the largest wild ruminant herbivore they met with the name of the huge Northern European herbivore of which they had some vague notions.

In Dutch the animal is called "eland antilope" to distinguish it from the elk.

Retrieved from ""