The African Buffalo

African Buffalo
(Syncerus caffer)

A stocky member of the cow family from Africa. The females form protective herds whilst the males are mostly solitary. Members of the herd are thought to ‘vote’ on which direction the herd should move.

African Buffalo Subspecies

2 subspecies, and some races: S.c. caffer (Cape buffalo) in savannas and woodland, S.c. nanus (Forest buffalo) in forests near the equator.The African Buffalo

African Buffalo Life Span

Although they have a lifespan of about 30 years, it is unlikely that they reach even half that age in the wild.

African Buffalo Statistics

240-340cm long, with a 75-110cm long tail and standing 135-170cm at the shoulder and weighing 680kg (male) or 576kg (female). The forest subspecies is smaller in all dimensions, being about 220cm long and standing 100-120cm at the shoulder.

African Buffalo Physical Description

A heavily built member of the cow family with a reddish brown coat (darker in the forest subspecies). The neck is thick, and the head carries two low, curved horns with a large boss between them.

African Buffalo Distribution

Sub-Saharan Africa.

African Buffalo Habitat

Savannah and woodland.

African Buffalo Diet

Grass and other vegetation.

African Buffalo Behavior

Females live in herds with their young (including males under 3 years old). These are usually around 12 individuals in the forest buffalo, but up to 1,000 in the Cape buffalo. Males are mostly solitary or form small bachelor groups. The herds are very protective of their members, and appear to ‘vote’ on which direction they should move using different postures.

African Buffalo Reproduction

Breeding can take place at any time of year, but births tend to peak during the wet season. Males associate with the herd for a short period and pursue any females in oestrus during this time and try to repel any other males. Gestation is 340 days, after which a single calf is born. The youngster remains hidden in vegetation for the first few weeks, being nursed occasionally by the mother, before joining the protective group, where they are held in the centre of the herd for safety.

African Buffalo Conservation Status

Listed as ‘Lower risk – Conservation Dependent’

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