Syncerus caffer


December 6, 2021

The Kaffir buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is a species of artiodactyl mammal of the Bovidae family [2] that lives in the forests and savannas of sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the east of the continent. It is also sometimes called the African buffalo or Cape buffalo, as it was in that region of South Africa that the first specimens were discovered.


It is somewhat lower in height than the distantly related Indian buffalo (Bubalus bubalis or B. arnee), although it is still larger, as the Kaffir buffalo has a height at the withers of between 1 and 1.7 meters, and 2.1 to 3.4 m in length. [3] Generally it weighs 500 kilos, in exceptional cases they reach 1000 kilos. [4] [5] The horns are thick and highly developed, curving upwards and inwards in the extremes; the maximum distance between these reaches one meter in males. The coat is dark brown or black and of short length, only long at the end of the tail and the edges of the ears. Like most bovines, this species also presents sexual dimorphism, the females being lighter in color, and smaller in size and horns. Males mature earlier, around the age of five, while females mature at eight. African buffalo are gregarious animals, grouped in herds of varying size: from four or five individuals in the forested areas of central Africa, to thousands in the savannas of the eastern part of the continent. The males occupy the fringes of the group, while the females and the young (usually one per parturition after a gestation of 300 to 330 days) [6] are concentrated in the interior, where they are in less danger. A peculiar characteristic of theirs is that they not only close ranks so that predators do not attack them, but they break them to attack them, defending each other, although sometimes they give in to prudence. Packs have a group of old males who guide the group and alert it to predators. Due to their size and teamwork they have few predators. The main predators of the buffalo are lions, crocodiles and hyenas, who hunt the weakest, sickest, young or old members of the herd. [7] In the event of a predator attack on the herd, male buffaloes The physically capable respond by attacking in turn, then regrouping and finally fleeing. It can reach speeds of up to 57 km / h. [3]


Five subspecies of Kaffir buffalo are recognized: [2] Syncerus caffer caffer - Kaffir or black buffalo. Syncerus caffer nanus - dwarf forest buffalo, Congo buffalo or red buffalo. Syncerus caffer aequinoctialis Syncerus caffer brachyceros - Western savanna buffalo. Syncerus caffer matthewsi - mountain buffalo.

See also

Annex: Artiodactyla species


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