Bison vs Buffalo vs Yak: what is the difference

Bison vs Buffalo vs Yak? Yaks lived thousands of years ago in eastern Russia, according to fossil records, prompting biologists to conclude that progenitors of the American bison and yak crossed the Siberian land bridge and moved to North America. Both are bovines that belong to the Bovidae family of animals.

However, the classification resemblances cease there. Yaks belong to the Bos genus. Bison are a separate genus. The buffalo and the bison, on the other hand, are two quite different animal species.

They both belong to the cow family. To begin with, the head and shoulders of the bison are larger, with extremely few horns, but the head and shoulders of the buffalo are more proportionate, with considerably larger, more curved horns.

Bison vs Buffalo vs Yak

Bison vs Buffalo vs Yak? It’s easy to see why people get confused about bison and buffalo. Both species belong to the Bovidae family and are huge, horned bulls.

The American bison and the European bison are two species of bison, whereas the water buffalo and the cape buffalo are two types of buffalo. It is, nevertheless, not difficult to tell them apart.

Bison are endemic to North America and parts of Europe, while buffaloes are native to South Asia (water buffalo) and Africa (Cape Buffalo). Despite being a widespread misnomer attributed to perplexed seekers, buffalo are frequently used to refer to American bison, adding to the confusion.

  • Another significant distinction is the presence of a hump. There is one on a bison’s shoulder, but not on a buffalo. The horns are the subject of the next sign. Buffaloes have huge horns that can reach over 5 feet in length and have very defined arcs. Bison horns, on the other hand, are much smaller and more pointed. Bison, with their bushy beards, are the hipsters of two animals. The buffaloes don’t have beards.
  • The shoulder blade of a bison is built entirely of muscle, with a huge head that makes the hindquarters appear smaller than the front. The heads and shoulders of both the cape buffalo and the water buffalo are smaller than the rest of their bodies, making them smoother.
  • Both male and female cape buffaloes have huge mustache-shaped horns on their handlebars that fly over their heads and can grow up to five feet in length on the male. With its splendid horns, the water buffalo outperforms all other animals that can keep six feet between the sexes. Bison horns are around two feet long on average in both sexes.
  • Bison have a thick coat that keeps them warm throughout the cold winters of the Great Plains, but they lose it during the summer. Water buffalo and cape buffalo both have a thin coat that they do not shed.
  • The length category is won by the American bison: Bulls, or males, can reach 13 feet in length from head to rump and weigh up to 2,000 pounds. The second-longest, the Cape buffalo, is around 11.5 feet long and weighs just under 18,000 pounds. The water buffalo is a heavyweight champion, growing up to eight feet tall and weighing up to 2,500 pounds. It has a longer tail than a bison, up to 30 to 35 inches compared to a bison’s 24 inches.
  • The Yaks live on the Tibetan Plateau, a desolate expanse four times the size of France in Central Asia that borders China, Nepal, and sections of Tibet. The plateau is bordered by enormous mountain ranges, such as the Himalayas in the south and the Kunlun Range in the north, despite the fact that it is flat. Wild yak herds abound at an average elevation of 15,000 feet above sea level. Domestic yaks used for transportation and agriculture dwell alongside their human guardians on the plateau. Mongolian and Russian mountains are also home to yaks.

Habitat of buffalo:

Buffalo is one of Africa’s most successful wild ruminants, thriving on virtually any type of grassland in Sub-Saharan Africa. Bison vs Buffalo vs Yak?

From desert savannas to swamps, low-lying floodplains to alpine mixed forests and glades, there’s something for everyone.

In fact, everywhere as long as there is a body of water nearby, such as a lake. Another interesting fact about buffaloes is that they are very immune to most of the diseases that often afflict African domestic cattle.

Cattle sleeping sickness, which is spread by tsetse flies and affects all cattle except buffaloes, is one such disease.

Bison’s habitat:

The majority of animals on private land around the world are truly wild and roam freely. One of them is the bison. Bison went from northern Mexico to Canada, according to historical documents.

They are now, however, confined to small portions of the house. As a result, Mexico has a tiny herd of bison, the United States has a big number of scattered herds, and Canada has a huge number of scattered herds.

Habitat of yak:

The Yak belongs to the Bovidae family and can be found in Tibet, the Himalayas, Mongolia, Siberia, Russia, and India in the cold. Domestic yaks have been kept for human meat, milk, and coats for many years. They refuse to consume grain and will go hungry until they can graze.

They refuse to eat grains. Plowing is done with them. Cheese, butter, and buttermilk are all made with their milk. Breeders have been crossing Yaks with domestic cattle for years. They’ve also been crossed with bison from the United States.

They normally give birth to a calf. Yaks’ fur is extraordinarily warm, making them comfortable even in the coldest of climates. They have an exterior coat that looks like the bottom and an interior coat that looks like the bottom. It is extremely uncommon and valuable.

Diet of buffalo:

Buffaloes must consume a lot of grass all of the time. To put it another way, they value quantity over quality. This is typically possible because buffaloes are designed to digest longer, thicker grass than most other species.

They also have a wide snout and a row of cut teeth that allow them to cut a large amount of material at once. Before mowing the lawn, they can also use their tongue.

In reality, this is a widespread feature among all cattle. If the forest economy is particularly severe, and the buffaloes are unable to find any grass to feed, they will alternately consume woody vegetation.

Diet of bison:

Bison are herbivorous mammals by nature; thus, they eat mostly vegetation. Bison are large-scale herders who prefer to graze grass and seeds rather than fruit or other plants. As a result, when winter arrives, it can be difficult for them to identify a plant to eat because they are often covered in snow.

Even so, when the grass is covered with snow, the bison utilize their powerful necks to scrape the snow away from the plants buried beneath it.

The behavior of bison, yaks, and buffalo:

The buffalo, like every other animal, has its distinct peculiarities. Herds of Savannah buffaloes are common. And this subgroup frequently encapsulates the minor subgroups of mothers and their infants, as well as a single man. Older men can sometimes live alone.

The buffalo can be fully active at any time of day or night, depending on its attitude. Because they are frequently preyed upon by lions, when a member of the herd is assaulted, the other buffaloes, rather than fleeing, rush to defend the attacker.

That is why most animal experts have recognized that buffaloes are one of the few animals that can endure attacks from hazardous predators like lions as a group. In fact, most hunters consider a wounded buffalo bull to be a hazardous animal since it may destroy anything in its path.

Bison is a type of cattle that is split into categories based on their age, habitat, season, and gender. However, when the roots approach closer, a substantial proportion of male bison will enter these batches.

Bison males live in groups of up to 25 individuals, and authority among the bulls is frequently straightforward because the bulls are significantly higher in rank than the others in the family, thus they naturally dominate others. Another factor to consider is that bison graze at different times of the day.

And they do it in discrete batches, almost entirely on their own. They do, however, migrate in a straight line as soon as they eat. And how they get from one place to another is determined either by the state in which they dwell or by the entire region.

To summarize, despite belonging to the same mammalian family, bison and buffalo are very distinct. Buffaloes are clearly not bison, as evidenced by their habitat, grazing habits, and behavior, contrary to popular belief.


The biggest physical difference between bison and buffalo and yak is that bison are larger, heavier, and have larger heads. Bison have a broad shoulder blade and a shaggy fur coat that thickens in the winter, particularly around their head and neck.

They have small, narrow horns that grow straight above their heads and bend slightly, but buffaloes have huge, clear horns that reach several feet from the sides of their heads and then turn around.

Bison can only be found in a few tiny areas of North America and Eastern Europe, where they were bred and released back into the wild after being extinct.

Buffaloes are found in Africa and Asia, and in the wild, they outnumber bison. Yaks are found in the Himalayas, Russia, India, Tibet, and Gilgit Baltistan, among other places.

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