A grazing antelope with a mahogany and black coat that lives in herds on African grasslands. Males form 'leks' where they compete and display to females.
Seven subspecies, including D.l. lunatus (tsessebe) from Zambia southwards, D.l. jumela and D.l.topi (coastal topi) in North-eastern Congo and East Africa, D.l. tiang (tiang) in North-western Kenya, Western Ethiopia and South Sudan and D.l. korrigum from Senegal to Western Sudan.
170cm long with a 43cm tail, standing 124cm at the shoulder and weighing up to 170kg (females 130kg).
A grazing antelope with a long head and slightly sloping body. The coat is a glossy mahogany red, with dark patches, particularly on the head. The horns are thick and ridged and are present in both males and females.
From Senegal to western Sudan and East Africa down to South Africa.
Swampy floodplains and savannah with plenty of rain.
Topi are herd animals, but their behaviour changes according to their density. In most areas, where topi are not too dense, males will defend an exclusive territory and expel young males when they reach one year of age. These territories usually support 2-6 females and their young, and the females co-operate with the male to defend the area against other individuals. Each territory includes a high vantage point from which to observe and signal. As the density of animals increases, though, it becomes impossible for the males to be so protective of the females in their territory, and the aggregations become looser.
During the breeding season, which is usually once (but sometimes twice) a year, males form 'leks'. Leks are small breeding areas where males gather and attempt to gain and defend a small patch of ground. Sexually receptive females leave their herd and travel to the lek. They stay for a day or two, choosing several males with which to mate. Gestation lasts about 8 months, after which a single calf is born. The calf can show one of two behaviours - a 'hider' or 'follower'. 'Followers' immediately join the herd for protection, whilst 'hiders' remain hidden in underbrush, being nursed by the mother, for several months. Weaning is complete at about 1 years old, when males calves are expelled from their mother's territory by the territorial male. Sexual maturity is reached at 16-18 months in females (full size is reached at around 2 years old), whilst males mature at about 3, although they are unlikely to breed before 4 years of age.
Listed as 'Lower Risk - Conservation Dependent', with the Korrigam subspecies 'Vulnerable'.
The first artiodactyls (also called the 'even-toed ungulates') were present in the Eocene forests. The horned ruminants (deer, giraffe, antelope & cattle) first appear in the Miocene, taking advantage of the opening plains. The grazing antelopes like the topi evolved to take advantage of all the grass-dominated environments in Africa.