African Animals

BUFFALO – Syncerus caffer

SIZE: Shoulder height (m) 1,4 m, (f) 1,4 m; mass (m) 700 - 800 kg, (f) 550 kg. Both sexes have horns.

COLOUR: Reddish brown to dark brown or black. Males are darker, and both sexes darken with age.

MOST LIKE: Black wildebeest, but buffalo has black or dark brown tail and is much larger. The buffalo is also distinctly oxlike in appearance with heavily built limbs.

HABITAT: Savanna woodland and bushveld close to water.

The Cape Buffalo is large, heavily built and formidable, and is a well-respected member of Africa's 'Big 5'. Although buffalo are not normally aggressive, if wounded they become one of the world's most dangerous animals. Buffalo live in large herds, which even today can number thousands: one of the most impressive and frightening sights of Africa is the mighty stampede of a herd of buffalo thundering across the savanna plains.

Buffalo are gregarious, occurring in herds of up to several thousand individuals. These herds are relatively stable associations, with the smaller herds forming into larger ones temporarily. Buffalo herds move seasonally in search of adequate grazing and water. There may be family cohesion of females within the herd: family ties in the males do not last beyond three years of age. Old and young bulls may leave the herd and form small bachelor herds, but the two age classes are usually found apart.



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