CREATURE FEATURE: African Forest Buffalo

The African Forest Buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus) is a sub-species of the African buffalo. It is also known as the Dwarf Buffalo or the Congo Buffalo. It is related to the Cape Buffalo. 

The African Forest Buffalo has reddish-brown fur with darker fur around its face. Its ears have long fringes of hair. It has short, backward-facing horns.

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American Wood Bison

The American Wood Bison (Bison bison athabascae) is an ungulate (hoofed) mammal in the bovine (cattle) family. It is a bisonid. It is an artiodactyl, because it is cloven (split) hooved. It is also known as the American Buffalo, and is closely related to the European Bison, which is also called the European Wisent.

The American Wood Bison has a shaggy dark-brown coat of fur with a massive head. It is broad and muscular. Both the male and female have short, curved horns.

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Lowland Anoa

The Lowland Anoa (Bubalus depressicornis) is an endangered ungulate (hoofed) bovid species of wild cattle in the water buffalo family. It is also known as the Midget Buffalo. Another species of the Midget Buffalo is the Mountain Anoa (Bubalus quarlesi). It is related to the Asian Water Buffalo. 

The Lowland Anoa is similar in appearance to a miniature Asian Water Buffalo. It has a strong body with brown-black fur. The male is darker in colour than the female. It has short upright horns. The female has shorter horns than the male.

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What is the difference between an African Buffalo and an Asian Water Buffalo?

What is the difference between an African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer) and an Asian Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)?

The African Buffalo or Cape Buffalo is not related to the Asian Water Buffalo.

The African Buffalo has an almost black coat, whereas the Asian Water Bufffalo has a blue-grey coat.

The African Buffalo has larger horns than the Asian Water Buffalo.

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Asian Swamp Water Buffalo

The Asian Swamp Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) is a large bovid mammal. It is not aggressive and has become domesticated.

The Asian Swamp Water Buffalo has blue-grey skin. It is a stocky animal with a short body and large belly. Its forehead is flat, its eyes are prominent, and its face is short. It has a wide nose. Its horns grow outward and curve in a semi-circle. Its tail is short.

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Shuffle off to Buffalo

What does Shuffle off to Buffalo mean?

Al Dubin and Harry Warren wrote a song called “Shuffle off to Buffalo” for the 1933 musical film called 42nd Street.  Buffalo is the name of a city in New York state in America. It means that they are going to Buffalo.

The boss: African Buffalo

What is a boss?

The male African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer) has distinctive horns joined at the base on top of its head. It forms a continuous bone shield called a boss.

The boss is fully formed when the male African Buffalo is about 5-6 years old.

Females have smaller horns and the boss is not as visible as a male’s boss.

The Asian buffalo does not have a boss.


Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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African Cape Buffalo

The African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is not related to the Asian water buffalo, and it is not related to domestic cattle. Its ancestry is unclear. The African Buffalo is native to west Africa to east Africa and central Africa.

The African Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer) is found in South Africa and east Africa. It is the darkest of all buffalo, with an almost black coat. It is also the largest of all buffalo, the most unpredictable, and one that has not been domesticated. Therefore it remains dangerous to humans because it can gore people with its large horns.

In Africa it is one of the ‘Big 5’ – lion, elephant, buffalo, rhinoceros, and leopard. Its predators are lions and large crocodiles.

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