The Speke's gazelle is the smallest but very graceful gazelle species. They have a brownish tan back, dark bands on the side and a white belly. The face is light beige with dark stripes near the eyes and down the front of the muzzle. These black stripes around their eyes reduce glare from the sun. Both males and females have S-shaped horns with upward-curving tips, although the horns of the males are larger and broader. These small gazelles are named after John Hanning Speke, an English explorer of Central Africa.
Speke's gazelles are native to the Horn of Africa; they occur in Ethiopia and some parts of Somalia. These little gazelles live in stony brush, grass steppes, and semi-deserts.
Speke's gazelles are social animals and live in small herds of around 12 animals. Sometimes they may gather into herds of up to 20 animals. Their herds consist of either a dominant male with his harem or the bachelor herd of young and juvenile males. Speke's gazelles are usually active in the early morning and evening. During the heat of the day, they prefer to rest in shades. These delicate gazelles have a sac on their nose which is inflated when they are threatened. This way they can increase the volume of their call, which resembles a honking sound to warn each other of danger. There are also preorbital glands which produce secretions when gazelles are very excited. Another interesting behavior of these little creatures is how they move by bouncing, jumping, and running when frightened. In their nature, Speke's gazelles are migratory animals and move seasonally depending on the availability of vegetation but now these migratory or nomadic patterns are impossible due to severe habitat fragmentation.
Little is known about the mating system in Speke's gazelles. Females usually give birth to a single calf after the gestation period of 6 to 7 months. Calves are weaned at 2-3 months after birth. Females become reproductively mature when they are around 9 months old, while males attain maturity at 18 months of age.
The main threat to Speke's gazelles is competition with domestic livestock for limited grazing areas. Other serious threats include hunting and poaching, drought and periodic civil and military conflicts over the past 20 years.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Speke's gazelle total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.