Buffalo

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Scientific Name: Syncerus caffer

Unmistakable as the only wild cattle species in Africa. Males are larger than females with both sexes having horns.

Characteristics

Distribution
A wide distribution throughout sub-saharan Africa with a subspecies – the red or forest buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus), found in the forests of central and west Africa.

Social structure
Buffalo generally move around in large herds – at times numbering in the thousands – or in smaller herds of old males that have left their respective herds. The large herds are made up of dominant males, subordinate males, females and calves. These large herds will splinter at times of the year depending on food availability.

Range differentiation
The forest buffalo is smaller than its savanna relative and has a reddish colour. Hybridization does occur between the two.

Habitat
Open woodland and savanna where there is sufficient grass and water. The forest buffalo is found in more wooded habitats.

Feeding
Buffalo are predominantly grazers and in most areas feed at night, resting during the heat of the day. In parts of Africa where food and water is plentiful they will feed throughout the day, resting at night.

Breeding
Buffalo are generally seasonal breeders, although some calves are born throughout the year. Calves are born after a gestation period of eleven months. Remarkably, calves are able to keep up with the herd within a few hours of birth.

Male and female buffalo horns differ. One of the differences in male and female buffalo can be found in the horns.

The Buffalo stare
Buffalo look at you as if you owe them money

Buffalo – mating
Mating takes place year round with a peak when conditions are favourable.