name = Lechwe
status = LR/cd | status_system = IUCN2.3
trend = stable
status_ref = IUCN2006|assessors=Antelope Specialist Group|year=1996|id=11033|title=Kobus leche|downloaded=10 May 2006]

image_width = 250px
image_caption = Red Lechwe
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Artiodactyla
familia = Bovidae
genus = "Kobus"
species = "K. leche"
binomial = "Kobus leche"
binomial_authority = Gray, 1850

The Lechwe, or Southern Lechwe, ("Kobus leche") is an antelope found in Botswana, Zambia, south-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, north-eastern Namibia, and eastern Angola, especially in the Okavango Delta, Kafue Flats and Bangweulu Swamps.

Lechwe stand 90 to 100 centimetres at the shoulder and weigh from 70 to 120 kilograms. They are golden brown with a white belly. Males are darker in colour, but general hue varies depending on subspecies. The long spiral structured horns are vaguely lyre-shaped, they are found only in males. The hind legs are somewhat longer in proportion than in other antelopes, to ease long-distance running in marshy soil.

Lechwe are found in marshy areas where they eat aquatic plants. They use the knee-deep water as protection from predators. Their legs are covered in a water repelling substance allowing them to run quite fast in knee-deep water.

Lechwe are diurnal. They gather in herds which can include many thousands of individuals. Herds are usually all of one sex but during mating season they mix.


There are four subspecies of the Lechwe:MSW3 Groves|pages=] Haltenorth, T. & H. Diller. 1980. "Mammals of Africa including Madagascar." Harpercollins Publishers. ISBN 0-00-219778-2]

* Red or Zambesi Lechwe ("Kobus l. leche") - most of range. Overall tawny-fawn with black to front of front legs.
* Kafue or Brown Lechwe ("Kobus leche kafuensis") - Kafue Flats. As previous, but front legs almost entirely black. Vulnerable.IUCN2007|assessors=Antelope Specialist Group|year=1996|id=11045|title=Kobus leche ssp. kafuensis |downloaded=23 July 2008]
* Roberts' or Kawambwa Lechwe ("Kobus leche robertsi") - formerly near Kawambwa. Extinct.IUCN2007|assessors=Antelope Specialist Group|year=1996|id=11038|title=Kobus leche ssp. robertsi |downloaded=23 July 2008]
* Black or Bangweulu Lechwe ("Kobus leche smithemani") - Bangweulu Swamps. Adult male blackish. Vulnerable.IUCN2007|assessors=Antelope Specialist Group|year=1996|id=11046|title=Kobus leche ssp. smithemani |downloaded=23 July 2008]


External links

*ARKive - [http://www.arkive.org/species/GES/mammals/Kobus_leche_smithemani/ images and movies of the black lechwe "(Kobus leche smithemani)"]

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