Bull: Shoulder height 1,4 m; tail 70 cm; mass 700 kg; average horn length 100 cm
Cow: Shoulder height 1,4 m; tail 70 cm; mass 550 kg; average horn length 100 cm
Buffalo are massive, heavily built cattle-like animals. Adult bulls are dark-brown to black in colour but the cows are usually not so dark and the calves are reddish-brown. They have stocky, relatively short legs, with large hoofs, those on the forefoot being larger than those on the hindfoot. The horns are heavy and massive, and the central hornbase or 'boss' is particularly well developed in bulls. The horns first curve down and outwards and then upwards and inwards, narrowing towards the tips. When viewed from the front the horns are a shallow 'W'. The horn boss of the cow is much less pronounced and is absent in younger animals. Ears are large and hang below the horns. The tail is cow-like with a tip of long brown or black hair.
The buffalo has a fairly wide habitat tolerance, but requires areas with abundant grass, water and cover. It shows preference for open woodland savanna and will utilize open grassland as long as it has access to cover.
The buffalo is a gregaious animal occuring in herds that may number several thousands. Smaller groups may break away from the main concentration to rejoin it later. Bachlor herds may form away from the main herd and solitairy bulls are quite commonly encountered. Adult bulls within the mixed herd maintain a dominance hierarchy, the complexity of which is influenced by the size of the herd. The cows also establish a pecking order amongst themselves. The dominant bull or bulls will mate with the cows that are receptive or in breeding condition. Buffalo herds have clearly defined home ranges and herd areas rarely overlap. They come to water early in the morning and late afternoon and seek out shade during the heat of the day. Most feeding takes place at night.
Buffalo are predominantly grazers, but they occasionally browse.