Abbott's duiker is one of the so-called "giant duikers", weighing 50-60 kg and measuring 100-140 cm in length (Kingdon, 1997). Shoulder height is approximately 60-70 cm, and tail length between 8 and 13 cm.
"Abbott" is sometimes spelled with a single T, resulting in "Abbot's duiker" (Kingdon, 1997). However, this species is named after Dr. W.L. Abbott, who collected an adult male specimen on Kilimanjaro between 1888 and 1889, and should thus be written with two Ts. The name duiker (pronounced "DIKE-er") is Afrikaans for "diver", describing the escape tactics of many duiker species which involves "diving" into the undergrowth when alarmed.
The Abbott’s duiker is restricted to the highlands of north-eastern and central Tanzania (Wilson & Reeder, 1993; East, 1996) as far north as zones adjacent of south Kenya , in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro . Its distribution map was obtained from Kingdon (1971-77), then greatly restricted according to country maps in East (1988). Dr. R. East confirms that this species has been eliminated from parts of its former range (over-hunting and forest destruction), and now occurs only in Usambara, Uluguru, Uzungwa and Rungwe Mts. in Tanzania . Its presence both in south Kenya and in the Rubeho Mts. remains uncertain and has been marked as possible. As a result the current geographic range poorly matches the toponyms cited for the species (Kingdon, 1997).
Categorical-discrete (CD) distribution model
The species occurs in montane forests and high altitude marshes from 4,500 feet to 16,000 feet. (East, 1988; Kingdon, 1997).
Cephalophus spadix is classified as vulnerable (Criteria: C1) by the IUCN (2002), and is not listed CITES. With an extremely restricted range, Abbott's duiker is vulnerable to habitat loss and degradation as a result of logging and human settlement (IUCN, 2002). This species, with a total population is estimated at 2,500 individuals, is dependent on protected areas, notably Kilimanjaro National Park and Forest Reserve and Udzungwa Mountains National Park (East, 1999).
Very little is known on the reproduction of this species, although no evidence of young offspring was found in September (Kingdon, 1982). It is likely that the reproductive parameters of Abbott's duiker are similar to those of the yellow-backed duiker, C. silvicultor.
Minde [Kiswahili] (Kingdon, 1982)
Mende [Kichagga] (Kingdon, 1982)
Céphalophe d'Abbott [French] (Kingdon, 1997)
Abbottducker [German] (Kingdon, 1997)