Difference Between Bison and Buffalo


Main Difference

Bison and Buffaloes are two most confused animals present in the world which are considered as same or regarded as one from the ancient times. In actual Buffalos are way much more different regarding their habitat, living environment, physical shape and characters from a Bison. People living in South and North America surely does not have seen Buffaloes in their lives, and the same goes for the people living in Africa and Asia who haven’t seen a Bison. Bison is a huge grazing herbivore animals which are only found in North and South America and in some parts of Europe too. On the other hand, Buffalo is big black grazing animals with large horns found in the Africa and Asia. Buffaloes by their geographical area possess different characteristics and are categorized as Cape buffalo (Found in Africa) and water buffalo (Found in Asia). Bison belongs to the same species and family to the buffaloes but differs in the genus. Bison is quite different by its weight, physical characters, and shape, etc.

Comparison Chart

Ranges from 700 to 2,200 lb.2000 lb. for Cape Buffalo and 2640 lb. for Water buffaloes.
Dark brown, brown, MaroonBlack, Dull Black
In between 13 to 21 years.15 to 25 years or Cape and 25 to 30 years of Water.
Bison is four-footed with a large hump and a gigantic structure.They possess four feet with a massive frame and hump is absent.
Long thick fur.Very light fur.
Bison possesses thick beard around the neck.No beard is found in any Buffalos.
Bison possesses small horns about buffaloes, but they are quite sharp.Their horns are long but not sharp as compared to Bison.
Found in plains, cold and rugged lands.Cape buffaloes are found in rocky areas whereas water buffaloes can’t live in such areas.
Hay and GrassGrass
Used for
Clothing, making weapon, shelter, attaining meat, etc.Water buffaloes are used for getting milk, used as cattle, used for meat, etc. Cape was hunted as entertainment but not their meat is used for feeding other animals and hunters etc.
Found In
North America, South America and some part of Europe.Cape Buffaloes found in Africa. Water Buffaloes found in Asia.
YesCape buffaloes are wild whereas water buffaloes are usually domesticated.
NoWater Buffaloes are domesticated whereas Cape buffaloes are not.
Total Population
2 Million160,000 (Cape) and 150 Million Water.
BisonSyncerus (Cape Buffalo) Bubalus (Water Buffalo)

What is Bison?

Bison is a member of the same family as Buffaloes (Bovidae) and is found in North America, South America and in some parts of Europe. The most population of Bison is found in North and South America. People of South and North America usually does not see buffaloes in their lives as there are no buffaloes they’re other than Africa and Asia. So due to the misconception from the ancient times, people consider Bison as a buffalo and usually regard them as buffaloes, whereas although bison do belong to the same family like buffaloes do, but it is quite different from buffaloes regarding their size, shape, weight, habitat and various other characteristics. Bison is the grazing herbivore animal that is found in the cold and rugged areas of American continents. Bison is usually of brown color. It possesses a thick fur on all over its body which is of light brown color and can be seen from an even long distance. The Bison have thick beard around their neck which grows up larger with their age. The beard is of maroon color and is quite apparent on the brown furred body. All these characters and color combinations are absent in the buffalos. Bison possesses two short horns that are quite sharp in nature and are used for fighting and defense purpose. Bison has a large hump above their head and neck which is quite clear. It is not like the hump that camels do possess but it is yet apparent and give a gigantic shape to the massive structure and frame of bison. Bison is wild in nature and is not tamed or domesticated in usual. They are used for a various purpose which includes meat, shelter and making clothes and even some even.


What is Buffalo?

Buffaloes are grazing herbivore animals found in Africa and Asia. Buffaloes by their geographical area are divided into two basic kinds, Cape buffaloes are found in rugged and rocky areas of Africa and are wild in nature. One the other hand Water buffaloes are found in Asia and are tamed and domesticated. Water Buffaloes are present in most abundance in the world. Water buffaloes are used for milk, used as cattle and used for meat. Buffaloes are black color and do not possess any hump, unlike bison.

Bison vs. Buffalo

  • Bison is grazing herbivore animal found in North and South America and
  • Buffalo is grazing herbivore animal found in Africa and Asia.
  • Bison possesses beard, thick fur, and a large hump.
  • Buffaloes don’t possess beard and hump; they have light fur.
  • Bison lives in cold and rugged lands.
  • Buffaloes are used for milk, cattle, and meat.
  • Bison is used as meat, for shelter, clothes and making weapons.
Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss