Martin Harvey's picture

Sika Deer? - Dorset

Observed: 26th August 2013 By: Martin Harvey
Berkshire Moth GroupFSC - Field Studies CouncilSoldierflies and Allies Recording SchemeBuckinghamshire Invertebrate Group
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Cervus nippon - Middlebere-003
Cervus nippon - Middlebere-002
Cervus nippon - Middlebere-001

I saw these deer in Dorset, not far from RSPB's Arne reserve, and at the time assumed they were Sika Deer. But having tried to find out what the best distinction is to tell them apart from Fallow Deer I'm confused. Fallow are supposed to have more black on the tail, and the deer in these photos do have a black stripe on the tail, but I'm not sure if it is black enough for Fallow or whether it is within the range of variation for Sika.
The shape and markings of the head look more like Sika to me so I've suggested that as an ID, but I'd be grateful for confirmation or otherwise.

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Ferret's picture


These are Sika, very thin stripe on tail, almost all of tail is dark on Fallow and the rump is also very dark, much lighter on Fallow.


Martin Harvey's picture


Thanks for that, good to have the confirmation.

Entomologist and biological recorder

the naturalist man's picture


There are over twenty recognised races/sub-species of sika, also they, unfortunately, cross-breed with red deer giving some strange sports.

The coats on these are too dark for them to be fallow and sika can have black stripes on the tail, they are usually not a complete stripe as in this case though - but they can be. To top it all, Arne is famous for its large sika population and, as far as I know, does not have any fallow in the area.

Graham Banwell

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