Bison vs. Buffalo

Although these two species look very similar to one another, they have very little in common other than belonging to the same family: Bovidae.

In this story we will carefully assess all of their different features to get to know them properly, but most importantly to once and for all clarify which one is which!


The largest terrestrial mammal in North America, the bison – a cow species, has long captured the imaginations of Americans with their enormous heads, giant horns, and shaggy coats.

Bison Scientific Names

Languages such as Latin, Proto-Germanic, and Middle English contributed to the word “bison,” meaning “wild ox.”

Bison Appearance and Behavior

Massive bison have two massive horns. In North America, an adult is typically 6 feet 2 inches tall – in other words, taller than Michal Jordan, a basketball star!


In North America, the largest mammal is the bison, and is also referred to as the buffalo – however, be underlined that this is an entirely different species from the African Buffalo.

Buffalo scientific name

Syncerus caffer is the African buffalo’s scientific name. “Caffer” is derived from the Latin phrase “Country of the Kaffirs,” which alludes to Africa.

Buffalo’s Appearance and Behavior

Adults weigh 1,600 pounds on average, roughly the size of a four-wheeler. A charging buffalo can travel up to 37 miles per hour despite its big size.

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