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African Buffalo

African Buffalo
© www.pgoimages.com
Photographer: Per-Gunnar Ostby of www.pgoimages.com

African Buffalo
© www.pgoimages.com
Photographer: Per-Gunnar Ostby of www.pgoimages.com

African Buffalo Range Map (Africa)
African Buffalo Range Map (Africa)
Latin Name Syncerus caffer
Conservation Status Conservation Dependent
Location Africa
Colour Dark Brown
Length 2.1 - 3.4 m (7 - 11 ft)
Tail 75 - 110 cm (30 - 43 inches)
Weight Up to 685 Kgs (1510 lbs)
Life Expectancy Up to 30 Yrs

Main Characteristics

The African Buffalo is a stocky built member of the cow family. They have a body length between 2.1 and 3.4 m (7 - 11 ft), a tail length between 75 and 110 cms (30 - 43 inches), a shoulder height between 1.35 and 1.7 m (4.4 - 5.6 ft) and they weigh up to 685 Kgs (1510 lbs).

They have a sparse covering of hair that is dark brown in colour. They have a large head, a thick neck, a broad chest and strong legs. Their ears are large and droopy and they have large, low curved horns. In males the horns are joined by a boss, which is a shield that covers their entire forehead.


African Buffalo inhabit the forests, woodlands and savannahs of Africa. Females and their young, including males up to 2 - 3 years old, live in herds of up to 1000 individuals. Herds are very protective of their members and they are thought to "vote" on which direction they should take.

Males are mainly solitary or they form bachelor groups consisting of 3 - 4 individuals.


The diet of an African Buffalo consists of grass and other vegetation. They need to drink once per day so they are never to far away from a water source.


After a gestation period of 340 days 1 calf is born weighing approximately 40 Kgs (88 lbs). The calf remains hidden in vegetation for the first few weeks where it is nursed and looked after by its mother. When it is ready to join the group it is held in the centre of the herd to keep it safe. The calf is weaned after 120 - 360 days.

When males reach 2 years of age they will leave their mother but females stay with their mother until they have produced their own off spring or sometimes longer. Males reach sexual maturity at 8 years of age and females 5 years of age.

Breeding can take place at any time of the year but generally births tend to peak during the rainy season.


Humans are a predator of the African Buffalo but it has few natural predators, the main ones being lions, leopards and spotted hyenas. It takes several lions to bring down a fully grown African Buffalo but leopards and spotted hyenas are only a threat to calves.


There are three distinct subspecies of African Buffalo and these are:

Cape Buffalo
(Syncerus caffer caffer)
They inhabit savannahs and woodland.

Forest Buffalo
(Syncerus caffer nanus)
They are approximately half the size of Cape Buffalo and they are found in forests near the equator.

West African Savanna Buffalo
(Syncerus caffer brachyceros)
They are also known as Sudanese Buffalo. They inhabit west Africa and are relatively small.

Interesting Facts

African Buffalo are also known as:
Cape Buffalo

African Buffalo are regarded as being very dangerous animals and several people are mauled and killed by them each year.

Similar Animals

Asian Water Buffalo
American Bison
European Bison


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