Family Bovidae: Bovids

The family Bovidae is the largest of the artiodactyls. It includes 50 genera and about 140 species. All species of bovids have ruminating stomachs. Species include cattle, buffalos, spiral-horned antelopes, duikers, gazelles, saiga, sheep, goats, muskox, takin, reedbucks, lechwe, impala, rhebok, topi/tsessebe, and chiru.

The size of individuals varies greatly. The Royal Antelope has a mass of only 2.5 kg while the bison and several species of domestic cattle have body masses approaching 1000 kg. The largest specides in the family is the gaur (easily over a ton). The smallest is the royal antelope (6 pounds). All bovids have a pair of horns, with the exception of the four-horned antelope.

Bovids are absent historically from South American and Australia. Today, domesticated forms are found worldwide. Most wild species are found primarily in Africa and Eurasia.


Janis, C. & Jarman, P. (1984). Macdonald, D.. ed. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. pp. 498–499.

Species listed under Bovidae