Topi In Oat Grass


After yesterday’s view of Mrs MacMoo’s lackadaisical look on the Cutlins, I’ve shifted continents for a different kind of ‘herbivore in hay’ shot. The topi is a large African antelope, much like a Coke’s Hartebeest, but with a darker chestnut coat and fetching plum coloured flushes on its haunches. It is also much given to posing on ant hills, a habit which endears it to wildlife snappers.

Males form temporary territories and in the rutting season they joust with rivals by dropping to their knees and locking horns. Groups of females then move in to mate with the males who hold the most central (and thus safest) territories within the herd’s grazing ground. It seems likely, then, that the male topi’s ‘king of the castle’ act is as much about ‘don’t I look big on this hillock’ as keeping an eye out for predatory lions, hyenas and wild dogs.

The photos were taken on the plains of a Maasai group-owned ranch outside the Maasai Mara National Park.


Spiky Squares Join Becky here for this year’s March Squares challenge.

41 thoughts on “Topi In Oat Grass

  1. Very majestic. I’m looking out the window of a Qdoba restaurant at a snow-covered landscape marked by dirty cars and the surrounding shopping complexes. It’s kind of hard to compete with the wild African veldt. But my chicken adobo bowl is pretty tasty. If you can’t have a gorgeous view, a delicious lunch isn’t half bad.

  2. I like both images- the first one has a bit of abstract mixed in – and the second one is fun- up
    On the hill and looking out (fit your description of their behavior so well)

  3. They really have a habit of posing on ant hills 🙂 My husband took an almost identical picture, but can’t remember if it was in Kenya or Uganda.

  4. The Topi’s local cousin, the Tsessebe, is one of my favourite antelope, so I really enjoyed these images of yours, Tish – especialy so on World Wildlife Day! Did you know that the Damaliscus lunatus subspecies – Korrigum, Tiang, Topi and Tsessebe – are considered the fastest antelope in Africa, capable of outsprinting even the gazelles?

  5. I love that first shot – your depth of field and detail are great. So majestic and the horns look like handcrafted weapons of yore. Here, the rain continues and the lake in my garden gets broader and deeper. I might drop a hook in there this afternoon. You never know…

      1. Yes. Each male establishes a temporary territory within a herd’s grazing area, and at mating time the females are attracted to those males with territories nearest the centre of the herd.

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