Fallow deer (Dama dama)

Fallow deer buck
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Fallow deer fact file

Fallow deer description

GenusDama (1)

Prized as an ornamental species for many years (3), the fallow deer (Dama dama) displays a variety of coat colours in the UK, ranging from red, brown and black, and even pure white coats (6). A black line runs along the back to the tail, and there are often white spots on the back during summer (6). The coat becomes darker and thicker in winter (2), and these white spots become more faint (6). Males have impressive antlers that can measure up to 70 centimetres in height (6). Calves are born with a coat similar to the summer coat of the adult (6).

Daim Européen.
Male weight: 46 - 94 kg (2)
Female weight: 35 - 56 kg (2)
Female shoulder height: 73 - 91cm (2)
Male shoulder height: 84 - 94 cm (2)

Fallow deer biology

Like many species of deer, the fallow deer is active throughout the 24-hour period, but in areas where human disturbance is high, they tend to be more active at night (2). They typically graze on grasses and rushes, but may also browse on young leaves, and also take cereals, berries and acorns (3).

For most of the year, males and females occur in separate single-sex groups, and large herds of fallow deer can aggregate in open areas where there is plenty of food (3). The breeding season, or 'rut' occurs between October and November (3); Males hold 'rutting stands' to defend groups of females (6). Rutting behaviour involves displaying, including groaning contests and parallel walks, escalating to physical contests in which the males lock antlers and push each other (2). One calf is usually produced during June or July (3).


Fallow deer range

In the 11th century, the Normans introduced fallow deer to Britain; they are now patchily distributed throughout much of England and Wales, they also occur in some areas of Scotland and Northern Ireland (3). They are common throughout most of Europe, as they have escaped from deer parks throughout the continent (3).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.

Fallow deer habitat

This species inhabits mature deciduous and mixed woodland with dense undergrowth (3). The fallow deer also occurs in marshes, meadows, and mature conifer plantations (3).


Fallow deer status

The fallow deer is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1). This widespread and locally common introduced species is increasing in numbers (3). It is protected in the UK by the Deer Act 1991 (4), and certain methods of killing or capture are prohibited under Appendix IV of the Bern Convention (5).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern


Fallow deer threats

Road deaths are common, and predation of fawns is a major cause of mortality (3). Populations are managed, as the fallow deer is a pest of woodland and agriculture (3).


Fallow deer conservation

There is no conservation action targeted at the fallow deer.

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.

Find out more

For more information on fallow deer: 



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:



A plant that sheds its leaves at the end of the growing season.


  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2011)
  2. British Deer Society Fact Sheet (March, 2008)
  3. Macdonald, D.W. and Tattersall, F.T. (2001) Britain's mammals- the challenge for conservation. The Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Oxford University, Oxford.
  4. The Deer Act 1991. DEFRA (March, 2008)
  5. United Nations Treaty Collection: Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats (March, 2008)
  6. The Invasive Alien Species Project. Fact Sheet: Dama dama (November, 2002)

Image credit

Fallow deer buck  
Fallow deer buck

© Chris Gomersall

Chris Gomersall
14 Judith Gardens
SG19 2RJ
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1767 260 769


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