|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Bontebok / Damaliscus dorcas dorcas|
Whenever and wherever I get the chance to capture babies of any type of animal, I do not waste time and make the most of the opportunity. It is not always easy to capture youngsters in the wild, as the most of the time they are hidden away between, or protected by the adults of the given species. Today I share an image of a Bontebok youngster which I was fortunate to photograph while it was standing alone and away from the herd for a short while.
The information given is mainly of the Bontebok in general and not only facts of the young of this species.
Bontebok is confined in their distribution to a restricted area in the south-western Cape Province, lying between Bredasdorp and Cape Agulhas. Historically their area of occurrence was somewhat larger, extending from Bot River to Mossel Bay and inland to the Sondereind and Langeberg mountains.
They live in a narrow sector of coastal plains at an altitude of from 60-200m above sea level within the Cape fynbos zone, a sandy, alluvial plain with stony ridges and gravel terraces. The plain provides the grasses on which they feed, and an association of shrubs which provide shelter. Water is an essential habitat requirement and is found in the many small streams and rivers which occur and whose banks provide, in their riparian Acacia associations, more substantial cover in the form of small trees. The habitat lies in a winter rainfall area, rain falling in all months of the year, with a peak during spring from September to November, which is the lambing season. The average mean annual rainfall is about 550mm. Areas of short grass, cover and drinking water are among their essential habitat requirements.
They are a diurnal, gregarious, grazing species. Their social organisation consists of territorial males, female herds and bachelor groups. The territorial males establish and maintain a mosaic of territories varying in size from 4-28ha on an all year round basis. Some males may hold their territories for much longer periods, even for the duration of their adult lives. They rarely manage to establish a territory before they are three years of age, generally 5 years. They acquire these by deposing a territorial male from his territory or by establishing a new one. They defend these from trespass by other males by a complicated system of ritual displays, seldom if ever resorting to fighting.
Female herds consist of a small number of adult females with their young, in total numbering up to about 8, which are non-territorial and wander at will over the home ranges of the territorial males. During the rut the territorial male courts females when they enter his territory and takes steps, by herding and ritual displays, to entice them to remain within it. There is a hierarchy among the members of the female herds, established by threat postures, horn-clashing or battling with the horns. Adult females demonstrate against strange attentive males, driving them off with a bucking bounce, kicking out with the hind legs.
Bachelor groups are much larger, consisting of males of all ages, including old decrepit males and young males. They may also include a small number of females. They are an important unit in the social structure as they provide security for young developing males, who may later become territorial males, a haven for decrepit old males, deposed territorial males, which are accepted amicably as members, and a temporary refuge for immature females. There is no hierarchy within bachelor groups and no aggression between members. Play-fighting between yearlings may occur, consisting of horn-twisting and head-pushing.
Young males leave their mothers at about 12 months old, when she produces her next offspring. They may remain solitary for a time but eventually join bachelor groups until sexually mature. They are not forced out of the female herds by their mothers or by the territorial males, as happens in the case of wildebeest and impala, but leave of their own accord. Bachelor groups are loose associations and when, in their wide movements, they enter the territory of a territorial male, they may so overwhelm him by numbers that he is not able to drive them out. While he may chase individual males, he eventually gives up and confines his actions to various threat postures. Normally males in bachelor groups give way to territorial males without encounter. Yearling females which join bachelor groups remain with them until they are about two years old before joining the nursery herds.
Some 30 challenge reactions used by territorial males in driving off trespassing males have been reported, which include lateral presentation of the body to intruders, head-dipping and nodding, alarm-snorting, bucking, bouncing with kicking with the hind legs, defecating and urinating postures, soil-horning and head to tail sniffing, the individuals standing side to side. All these usually end up with the trespasser moving off and actual encounters are rare.
While the many complicated challenge threats are all used by the territorial male in retaining his dominance in his territory, the most important seems to be the manner in which he advertises his possession of it. He will assume the "proud" posture with head held high, ears extended sideways, often standing on raised ground so that he is clearly visible. Marking of the territory by defecation and urination used by other species is not important to the Bontebok. Their latrines are scattered about the territory and generally are disregarded by other males.
Territorial males endeavour to retain adult females if they show signs of leaving their territories. They may do this by courting them with a display consisting of an approach with the muzzle pointed forward, horns laid low along the back and tail curled upwards. They display in this way and prance up to her or run straight at her with head held high and ears forward. If the female is determined to leave, however, the male may allow her to do so. If the herd is disturbed, the territorial male takes up a defensive position in the rear, standing broadside on in a wide stance or in the urinating posture, which has been interpreted as a symbolic threat. The scent-marking which they carry out by applying the black secretion of the preorbital glands to grass stems, is not recognised by others.
Horning of bushes or of the latrine patches by territorial males, often used on trespass by bachelor intruders, to be a threat display. Serious fighting is rare and even when fighting occurs no injuries result. Contestants may drop on their knees with their foreheads close to the ground and feint at each other without actual contact. These encounters only last a few seconds before one gives up and retires. While the territorial males invariably use latrines, a central one in the territory is often used to lie on during the day. The bachelor males defecate randomly, as do the females and juveniles.
The greatest activities are in the early morning and late afternoon. They rest during the hotter hours of the day in thickets, where they tend to cluster together. During periods of heavy rain they seek the shelter of trees or stand facing away from the wind with their heads held low.
They have a characteristic habit on hot days of standing in orientated groups facing the sun with their heads held low. They remain alert during this time, occasionally shaking their heads and snorting or stamping their feet, then running in a circle to resume their place in the group.
They are almost exclusively a grazing species, with a preference for feeding on short grass.
They are short-day seasonal breeders, mating in early autumn where the rut takes place between the months of January to mid-March, with some activity continuing until April. The territorial males court the females with a display involving tail over the back and holding the head low. Flehmen does not occur in Bontebok. A male may sniff the vulva of a female and if she is not receptive she will run around him closely to avoid his attentions. During this "mating circling" the female holds her head low in the submissive attitude. During the rut the frequency of the courtship display may be as high as once an hour, but is not confined to the period of the rut and may be performed in all seasons of the year. When the male performs to females about to leave a territory, it may actuate them to remain. The annual cycle in the male matches that in the female.
Conception rate is influenced by rainfall, which in turn affects grass cover prior to the breeding season, as well as food availability, as influenced by competition for food by grazers. The gestation period is between 238-254 days. Lambs are born in the spring, between September and November, with late arrivals up to the end of February, the peak months being September/October. Females become sexually mature at just over 2 years old, having their first lambs at about 3 years old. The young females remain with their mothers after their new lambs are born, as a member of the herd. Females have one pair of inguinal mammae. Source
I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.
iti, ramthakur, energypolice, anel, Hotelcalifornia, buscape, jcoowanitwong, cloud, marius-secan, cobra112, Alex99, Pitoncle, CeltickRanger, pierrefonds has marked this note useful
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Ciao Anna, my today neighbour, great capture of cute creature, fine details, wonderful natural colors, excellent clarity and splendid light, very well done, my friend, have a good Sunday, ciao Silvio
- [2013-05-19 0:49]
Really excellent sharpness details of the animal babies
iv amazing colors. Pose and compo are just perfect
and fantastic the eye's contact.
很可愛 的動物 毛澤都細膩
- [2013-05-19 1:30]
Hi Anna,beautiful capture of this young,a specie very rare and not often seen on TN,really new for me,the pic is really perfect,whit the best details,colors and exposure,i like the pose too.Have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano
The young of the species looks so adorable in your picture, Anna.
Great that you were able to obtain this lovely picture with the youngster all by itself.
I feel like coddling it!
Thanks for sharing this image.
Beautiful composition with nice color and focus.
Excellent photograph of Bontebok Youngster, excellent sharpness and details, excellent composition,excellent background and lighting.
Thanks for sharing,
- [2013-05-19 4:24]
A very cute animal from your country. I didn't know this species. Shown with this neat and fine picture in the middle of beautiful vegetation. Lucky you were to see it in this isolated way. Interesting posting!
Very good sharp picture.Colour and its pose really splendid.Green surroundings made it natural.
Thanks for sharing,
Nice picture of the Bontebok
great details good light and beautiful colours
the sharpness is very good
thanks greeting lou
fine capture of this young animal with good sharpness and a nice pose. I also like the beautiful colours, your well chosen POV and the nice natural surrounding.
- [2013-05-19 7:13]
Lovely photo of this Bontebok in an attractive pose with eye contact in a beautiful landscape. Sharpness and details are fantastic. Great composition.
Hi Anna,Colors and light are excellent. Sharpness is perfect. Very well done. JC
- [2013-05-19 23:17]
Beautiful picture. Lovely baby. I love the expression on its face!
- [2013-05-20 3:40]
It's pleasant to come back after long period and to meet the old friends. It's very good photo, beautiful unknown animal for me.
Incredible clarity, focus and razor sharp details. Very nice image. The exposure is perfect. I like this interesting scene with a lovely Bontebok in contrast to the background. The colors are amazing.....
Thanks for sharing!
Ciao Anna. Just perfect! Shapr and details excellente and amazing bright colours. TFS.
Beautiful capture. very cute and adorable.
nice natural ambiance.
- [2013-05-22 18:58]
The first thing I noticed was the super fine detail in this cute little Bontebok's coat. The facial expression is especially adorable, but then isn't this true of most young animals.
The lighting was certainly on your side as everything seems very well exposed. Gorgeous vivid yet natural colors and captured in it's natural habitat.
I admit I'm not familiar with this particular animal, so I'll be sure to check out more photos of the adults on the web. TFS.
- [2013-05-22 20:56]
Richness, sharpness and lushness abound in this composition. I love the uncertainty written all over this youngster's face and body posture. The lighting and colors are magically. Congrats on this superior image.
- [2013-05-23 5:22]
What a sweet little creature and you managed to reflect its charming features and youth spirit fantastically. Touching eye contact, superb details and very pleasant transition to blurred BG. I like impressive shadows of the image. They give strong esthetic effect. Well done and my compliments.
Splendide publication permettant d'apprécier, dans une très belle lumière, la finesse des détails et la délicatesse des couleurs.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.
Beautiful animal and beautiful photo Anna! Very good composition, fantastic soft lighting and impressive sharpness!
As you wrote it is not easy to capture in photo
the babies or young animals, here you did a very
beautiful and excellent close-up photo of this
young Bontebok with its beautiful glance on you,
the POV you choose contributed to that, with great
focus, sharpness, and details, beautiful rich
and contrasty color tones, TFS
really nice baby, greetings Ori
Impresionante ! además es la primera vez que veo a este animal !
The Bontebok seem to be looking at the photographer. The point of view is showing the details and colours of the Bontebok. The good luminosity is making the colours to stand out. Have a nice day.