The Republic of Djibouti is a particularly interesting travel destination for nature lovers given the diversity of its fauna and flora, especially in the underwater realm (see the blog article on the animals of Djibouti ). But what is less known is that its geography and its preserved spaces make it a region where endemic species live. As a result, the Republic of Djibouti is a privileged field of study for zoologists and ethologists from all countries. The 6 terrestrial animal species to which we devote this article, live only in the region of the Horn of Africa and in particular in Djibouti.


Goundi – Djibouti

Perhaps the cutest of Djibouti's endemic animals! Gundis are small animals that spend most of their time sleeping and only come out of sleep to look for food. They are herbivores who have the particularity of not drinking.

The habitat of the Goundi

In addition to Djibouti, the gondi is found in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somaliland where it frequents semi-desert rocky areas.

The physical characteristics of the Goundi

From head to tail, its size varies between 210 and 270 mm and it weighs up to 194 g. Its sandy-colored dorsal coat turns grayish-white in the ventral part.

The behaviors of the Goundi

The gundi uses its tail to communicate. For the specialists, it is the only one among the ctenodactylidae to preserve dental characters present in the first ctenodactylidae.

Speke's Gundi is herbivorous and feeds on dry grass, seeds; he is also very fond of acacia leaves.

The mores of the gundi are still poorly known to the scientific community; however it seems to start breeding in August. It produces two litters per year with a single individual.

Speke's gundis enjoy sunbathing but feed and rest in the shade. The peak of activity is between 0 and 3 hours after dawn when the temperatures are not yet too high; when they increase, the gundis take refuge in their shelters from which they do not come out until the end of the afternoon.

Speke-Gundis nehmen gerne ein Sonnenbad, fressen und ruhen sich aber im Schatten aus. Der Höhepunkt der Aktivität liegt zwischen 0 und 3 Stunden nach Sonnenaufgang, wenn die Temperaturen noch nicht zu hoch sind; Wenn sie sich vermehren, suchen die Gundis Zuflucht in ihren Unterständen, aus denen sie erst am Ende des Nachmittags herauskommen.

The dangers threatening the survival of the species

Currently, Speke's gundis face no significant threat of extinction. In Djibouti, it is found in particular in the Djalelo region.


The beira is a herbivorous mammal of the bovidae family and the antelope subfamily. It is found in East Africa in Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia.

The physical characteristics of the beira

Its size and height at the withers are respectively around 0.80 and 0.55 m and its weight is between 8 and 12 kg. Quite a rare phenomenon, the female is larger and heavier than the male.

The legs of the beira are thin and the male has horns of a dozen centimeters. It has a gray, red coat with silver highlights and a light yellow ventral side.

The habitat of the beira

The beira lives in rocky hills and steep slopes, wooded steppes, dry and arid environments. It is a ruminant herbivore that eats grasses, leaves, bushes and shrubs.

The behaviors of the beira

The beira is a gregarious animal. It lives in small groups of 6 to 12 individuals, made up of females, young and a male. Each group occupies its own territory.

The beira is active in the morning and evening, and rests in the shade the rest of the day.

Its main predators are the caracal, the jackal, and the hyena.

Beiras have excellent hearing thanks to their large ears. They can spot a predator from a very long distance, so they are also difficult for humans to approach. The beira can reproduce from 2 years old, the mating season takes place before the rains. Gestation lasts 6 months and the litter is a single cub sheltered in a nest made in tall grass. The lifespan of the beira is about fifteen years.     

The dangers threatening the survival of the beira species                             

The beira is ranked among the vulnerable species of the IUCN classification.

Drought, uncontrolled hunting, degradation of its natural habitat and competition with domestic livestock are the main threats to the species.


The physical characteristics of Dik Dik

The Dik Dik was first described in 1816 by French zoologist Anselme Gaëtan Desmarest.

Dik-diks are dwarf antelopes that measure from 30 to 43 cm. The name "dik-dik" comes from the noise they make when in danger. Dik-diks weigh 3 to 5 kg. They have an elongated muzzle, and a light gray fur on the back, and white on the level of the belly. On the top of the skull, the coat forms a straight tuft, which sometimes partially hides the male's short horns.

Females are slightly wider than males. The latter have fairly short horns of 3 to 7 cm.

The head of the dik-dik may seem disproportionate to the small body of the animal. The upper body is grey-brown, while the ventral part and the legs are light brown. Many dik-diks have a pale colored ring around their eye.

The longevity of Dik Dik is 3 to 4 years.

The habitat of Dik Dik

The dik-diks live mainly in the countries of East Africa.

They live in pairs in areas where grass and edible shrubs abound in a relatively small territory barely larger than a square of 200 meters on a side.

Dik Dik behaviors

Dik-diks most often feed before dawn and after dusk. They live all their life with the same companion.

At birth, fawns weigh approximately 0.7 kg. They reach adulthood between 6 and 8 months.

Faced with an attack from a predator, dik-diks use a unique strategy: they stand still in front of it, and when the predator attacks, they dodge it with a quick start to the side followed by a new asset.

The ride lasts until the predator gets discouraged, which can take several minutes...

Dik-diks are herbivores that feed on leaves, shoots, fruits and berries. This water-rich diet prevents them from drinking.

The elongated shape of their heads allows them to eat the acacia leaves without being pricked by the thorns, and also to stay alert for possible predators while feeding.

The running speed of the dik-diks, up to 50 km/h combined with their liveliness, often allows them to escape their many predators, including eagles, leopards, hyenas and jackals...

The dangers threatening the Dik Dik

The species is not considered to be in danger of extinction, it is classified as "least concern" in the IUCN list.


The physical characteristics of the gazelle-giraffe

Waller's gazelle or antelope-giraffe or gazelle-giraffe, is also called génuk, a word from Somali garanuug or deero-garanuug, literally, "the gazelle that suckles the giraffe". It is a medium-sized species of antelope, characterized by its long neck that resembles that of a giraffe. The gazelle-giraffe has very slender limbs, large eyes and large ears. Its coat is almost white on the legs and under the belly, while the upper part of the body is light fawn. The male has thin, short and cylindrical horns.

It is the only species of the genus Litocranius.

Females reach sexual maturity at one year and males at 18 months.

The giraffe gazelle breeds all year round. The gestation period is about 165 days, after which usually a single young is born. Hatchlings weigh around 3 kg and reach between 20 and 50 kg as adults.

The habitat of the gazelle-giraffe

The giraffe gazelle lives mainly in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, and Tanzania.

The name of this gazelle commemorates Reverend H. Waller (1833-1901), a missionary to Africa and friend of Livingstone.

Behaviors of the gazelle-giraffe

She moves very gracefully at a rapid pace, her neck stretched forward. She can run at 100 km/h to escape danger.

Waller's gazelle is a diurnal animal. She spends most of her day ruminating.

It is an animal that lives in groups of about 10 individuals, composed only of females and their young. Males are solitary and territorial. They only cohabit with females during rutting periods.

The giraffe gazelle feeds mainly on leaves which it reaches by rearing up on its hind legs and stretching its neck vertically. It can thus reach its food up to 3 meters above the ground, a height that other antelopes cannot reach.     

She may not drink for several days like camels.

The dangers threatening the survival of the species

Its main predators in Djibouti are leopards, but these are unfortunately rare. As with many others, the survival of the species is endangered by the decline of its habitat.


De « Elephantulus revoili » à « Galegeeska revoilii «

Lien pour la carte ci-dessus https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.9652/fig-7

The elephant shrew, whose first scientific name is Elephantulus revoili, was first described by the French naturalist Georges Révoil; during an expedition to Somalia between 1878 and 1881, he captured the first specimen of the species. Subsequently, other expeditions were carried out by other countries, and various museums around the world hold specimens of the elephant shrew. But the last capture was in 1973; this is why until the famous

Steven Heritage and Galen Rathbun, American specialists of the species, with Houssein Rayaleh, a Djiboutian naturalist convinced of its existence, organized the 2019 expedition of a fortnight to Djibouti with the aim of finding specimens of the extinct species. . More than 1,250 traps filled with peanut butter, oatmeal and yeast extract were set in 12 localities in Djibouti. "So when we opened the first trap, and Galen Rathburn saw the cute little tail with a tuft on the end, he looked at me and said, 'I can't believe it, I never have. seen one of my life! says Steven Heritage of the Lemur Center at Duke University of America.

Subsequent genetic analyzes showed that the elephant shrew found in this 2019 expedition belonged to a closely related but different species to Elephanulus rufescens, which is why the Somali elephant shrew became 'Galegeeska revoilii“, i.e. “gale” in honor of Galen Rathburn, and “geeska” which in Somali language means "the horn of Africa", the region where it was found. Link for access to the reference article by biologist Cesar Paul Gonzalez summarizing the progress of research and the result of the 2019 expedition https://myanimals.com/fr/actualites/shrew -elephant-of-somalia-rediscovered-over-50-years-after-its-last-appearance/

 The physical characteristics of the elephant shrew   

This species of elephant shrew weighs up to 750 grams for 30 cm long, so 30% more than the 15 species of sengi already identified. The average weight of a trunk shrew (sengi) is indeed 400 grams. They use their proboscis to look for insects which are their main source of food. Genetics would have proven that it belongs to the order of Afrotherians which appeared 100 million years ago and whose descendants include elephants and manatees.

Elephant shrew habitat

A Région de Djalelo – B Forêt du Day – C région d’Assamo – D région d’Arta https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.9652/fig-4

According to the study published at the same time in the journal PeerJ, the Somali sengi is not endemic to Somalia, since it also lives in Djibouti, and possibly beyond in the Horn of Africa.

Anyway, the elephant shrew is present in Djibouti: recognizable by its elongated snout, it has all the attributes of a shrew with a beautiful flamboyant fur, but is biologically very different from shrews. Link for above map reference https://doi .org/10.7717/peerj.9652/fig-5

Small but fast, since this small insectivorous mammal can run up to 30 km/hour to catch its prey!

The dangers threatening the survival of the Somali elephant shrew

Even if efforts to maintain its conservation must be continued, the population of this animal seems to be stable and its survival is not in danger.


Francolin de Djibouti – Zone Dittilou Forêt du Day

The Somali Francolin is a species of birds from family of Phasianidae. Locally the Somali Francolin is called gogori in Somali, or kukaace in Afar.

The Somali Francolin was collected in the Day forest on February 22, 1952 by Captain Max Albospeyre, military commander of the circle of Tadjourah.

The Latin name Francolinus ochropectus is given to this new species. Its standardized name of "Francolin somali" is obtained by combining "francolin" from the Italian "francolino" (kind of small partridge) and the adjective "somali" qualifying both what is relative to Somalia and to d other countries in the Gulf of Aden, including Djibouti, whose territory was called the French Somali Coast until 1967. The bird is also sometimes nicknamed "hen of the day". The Somali Francolin has no recognized subspecies.

Physical characteristics of the Djibouti francolin

Its plumage is overall grey-brown, with white stripes and streaks on its underparts, which become finer towards the upperparts.    

The nape has a rufous shade, while the top of the head is grey. Forehead, lores and ocular line form a black mask; chin and throat are whitish. The eyes are brown. The feathers on the body and neck are golden or straw colored in their center, with dark brown surrounding this area and finally white following the outer edge of the feather. The tail is short. The beak is black with some yellow on the lower mandible, and the legs of the Somali Francolin are greenish-yellow.

The sexes are similar, but males are on average slightly larger than females and have two prominent dewclaws on their legs, while females have virtually none. Females also have more rufous in their tail feathers. The juvenile resembles adults, but it is duller and barred buff rather than streaked on the underparts.

The Djibouti francolin is 35 cm long and weighs 940 g.                        

Behaviors of the Djibouti Francolin

It lives in small groups and is extremely shy. It feeds on berries, seeds and termites, and reproduces between December and February.

Its nest is placed in a shallow grass-lined depression in the ground.

Its main predator is the common genet. The bird is most active between 6 and 9 a.m., and it is most likely to be heard at this time of day.

Habitat of the Djibouti Francolin

The Somali Francolin endemic to Djibouti only occurs at two sites. The first site is in the Mounts Goda of the Forêt de Day, about 25 km north of Gulf of Tadjourah. This habitat, which covers only 14-15 km2, is changing. The other site is located in the Mabla Mountains, 80 km north of north of the Forest of Day.

The Djibouti Francolin lives in dense African juniper woodlands, with a closed canopy, at elevations between 700 and 1780 m. This forest habitat is mixed with boxwood and African olive trees.

Dangers threatening the survival of the species

The Djibouti francolin is considered a "critically endangered" species according to the IUCN because its population declined by more than 90% in 20 years between 1977 and 2006.

The origin of this decline is due to the degradation of its habitat itself caused by the accumulation of several factors including climate change, overgrazing, hunting, the collection of firewood.

For lovers of endemic species...

Africorn Travel has designed an 8-day itinerant circuit allowing you to observe these animals in their natural environment; do not hesitate to contact us if you are interested in this type of stay! Safari- photo in Djibouti

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