This is the "Summary" page of the "Forest Buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus) Fact Sheet, 1999" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content
sdzglibrarybanner San Diego Zoo Global Library

Forest Buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus) Fact Sheet, 1999   Tags: africa, bovid, buffalo, bushmeat, forest, horn, hunting, san diego zoo, savanna, sdzg, wallow  

Forest Buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus)
Last Updated: Mar 24, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Summary Print Page

Forest Buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus) Fact Sheet, 1999

Forest buffalo

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved.

TaxonomyPhysical Characteristics

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia - mammals

Order: Artiodactyla - even-toed hoofed animals (includes pigs, sheep goats, cattle, deer)

Family: Bovidae - antelopes, cattle, goats, sheep, bovids

Genus: Syncerus

Species: Syncerus caffer - African buffalo, Cape buffalo

Subspecies: Syncerus caffer nanus - forest buffalo

265-320 kg (584-705 lb)

Head-body Length
180-220 cm (71-87 in)

Shoulder Height
100-130 cm (39-51 in)

Horn width
34-72 cm (13-28 in)

Red-brown to brown. Undersides being more pale. Short mane.

Distribution & StatusBehavior & Ecology

Rainforest best of Central and Western Africa.

Prefer savannas interspersed with patches of forest, reeds, or scrub.

IUCN Status
Species-level (African buffalo): Least Concern

CITES Appendix
Not listed

Population in Wild
Few estimates available. One estimate of 60,000 (1999), but unknown how many live in Central Africa.

Can run for bursts of speed (e.g., to outrun lions), but are not endurance runners.

Activity Cycle
Not well understood for forest buffalo.

Social Groups
Herds of small groups; some fluidity in group membership. Gregarious. Non-territorial.

Grasses, sedges, leaves, shoots

Lions, spotted hyenas, lions, humans.

Reproduction & DevelopmentSpecies Highlights

Sexual Maturity
Not reported for this subspecies. Perhaps similar to other African buffalo subspecies.

300-346 days

Litter Size
Usually one; occasionally two

Interbirth Interval
15-36 months

Birth Weight
40-53 kg (88-117 lb) at one month old

Age at Weaning
4-6 months; suckling may last until 18 months in some populations

In the wild: 20-25 years
In captivity: up to 30 years

Feature Facts

  • Much smaller body compared to other African buffalo subspecies
  • Variety of coloration and horn widths
  • Thick skin to help with thermoregulation
  • Mud wallowing has self-care as well as social importance
  • Use dominance/threat displays to avoid fights
  • Vulnerable to habitat loss, hunting, disease, and drought

About This Fact Sheet

© 1999 San Diego Zoo Global. Minor updates 2017.

How to cite: Forest Buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus) Fact Sheet, 1999. c1999-2017. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd].
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to

SDZG Library Links

Our Mission. The Library is dedicated to supporting San Diego Zoo Global’s mission by providing outstanding
information resources and research services to advance knowledge and strengthen our organization’s capacity to save
species worldwide. Our Vision. We will empower San Diego Zoo Global to lead the fight against extinction by serving as
the organization’s information hub and facilitating research of the highest quality.

© 2016 San Diego Zoo Global — All Rights Reserved

Our Family of Sites

  • Zoo logoSan Diego Zoo
  • Park logoSan Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • ICR logoSan Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research
  • SDZ Global logoSan Diego Zoo Global

Loading  Loading...