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


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.

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

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.

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.