What’s the difference between a bison and a buffalo?

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I am going to explain the blog post “What’s the difference between a bison and a buffalo?” What’s the difference between a bison and a buffalo? This is a question that has puzzled many people for years. While these two animals might look similar, they are actually quite different. In fact, the term “buffalo” is often used incorrectly to describe the American bison. So, what are the key differences between these two majestic creatures? Let’s take a closer look.

The first difference is their scientific classification. Bison are part of the Bovidae family, which also includes cows, goats, and sheep. On the other hand, buffalo belong to the Bovinae subfamily, which includes African and Asian buffalo. Other differences include their physical appearance, habitat, behavior, and diet.

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10 Differences between a bison and a buffalo

Here is a list of 10 differences between a bison and a buffalo:

  1. Scientific classification
  2. Physical appearance
  3. Habitat
  4. Behavior
  5. Diet
  6. Horns
  7. Hump
  8. Tail
  9. Range
  10. Population

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  1. Scientific classification: As mentioned, bison belong to the Bovidae family, while buffalo are part of the Bovinae subfamily. This means that they have different ancestors and genetic makeups.
  2. Physical appearance: While bison and buffalo may look similar, there are some key differences in their physical appearance. Bison are typically larger and heavier than buffalo, with shaggy fur that ranges in color from dark brown to black. Buffalo, on the other hand, have shorter hair that is often brown or black.
  3. Habitat: Bison are native to North America and can be found in grasslands and prairies. Buffalo, on the other hand, are found in Africa and Asia and can be found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, forests, and wetlands.
  4. Behavior: Bison and buffalo also have different behaviors. Bison are known for their herding behavior and can often be found in large groups. Buffalo, on the other hand, are more solitary animals and typically live in smaller groups.
  5. Diet: The diet of bison and buffalo is also different. Bison are herbivores and mainly eat grass and other plants. Buffalo, on the other hand, are also herbivores but have a wider range of food sources, including grasses, shrubs, and even aquatic plants.
  6. Horns: While both animals have horns, there are some differences in their size and shape. Bison have shorter, thicker horns that curve inward, while buffalo have longer, thinner horns that curve outward.
  7. Hump: Bison have a distinctive hump on their shoulders, which is made up of muscle and helps support their large head. Buffalo, on the other hand, do not have a hump.
  8. Tail: Another physical difference between bison and buffalo is their tail. Bison have a short, stubby tail, while buffalo have a longer, more tapered tail.
  9. Range: As mentioned, bison are native to North America, while buffalo are found in Africa and Asia. This means that their range and distribution are different.
  10. Population: Bison and buffalo also have different population sizes. Bison were once on the brink of extinction but have since made a comeback, with an estimated population of around 500,000 in North America. Buffalo, on the other hand, have a larger population, with an estimated 1.5 million African buffalo and 400,000 Asian buffalo in the wild.


In conclusion, while bison and buffalo may look similar at first glance, there are actually many differences between them. These differences range from their scientific classification to their physical appearance, behavior, and habitat. Understanding these differences is important for anyone interested in learning more about these magnificent animals. So, the next time you come across a bison or a buffalo, you’ll know exactly what sets them apart.

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