Banteng (Bos javanicus)

Herd of banteng, Malua Forest Reserve, Sabah, Malaysia (Sabah Wildlife Department/DGFC/IZW)

Behaviour and ecology

They feed on grasses, bamboo, fruit, leaves and young branches.1 Loose herds of 2 to 40 individuals composed of caws and their calves and generally only one adult male. Adult males in surplus live often alone or group together in bachelor herds (Hoogerwerf, 1970).5 Maternal herds containing several adult cows, juveniles, and calves occur; these groups can often contain one or more subadult and adult males. In open areas large herds of more than 100 animals have been reported but these herds appear to be temporary associations formed when smaller groups and solitary animals arrive in an area to feed and the animals tend to reform into smaller groups when they leave the feeding areas.1

While in captivity breeding has occurred throughout the year, wild banteng in Thailand mate during May and June. However all year around mating has been described in some areas in East Java and in mainland Asia mating has been described to be from September to October. During the mating season the male groups disband and dominant males compete for access to receptive females. Mating between banteng and domestic cattle occurs freely, and the resulting offspring are usually fertile.1

Banteng can be active during the day or the night, but they tend to more nocturnal activities in areas where there is human disturbance and hunting.1 An annual home range size of 44 km2 was reported for Banteng herds in Thailand. Daily movement corresponds to about 2.5 km per day for a herd and it doesn’t change between the wet and dry seasons (Prayurasiddhi, 1997).2

Did you know...

  • Banteng is considered to be the ancestor of races of domestic cattle found in southeast Asia, i.e. the Bali cattle. It has been domesticated during many years and, more recently, hybridized with imported species of domestic cattle. Domestic Bali cattle are difficult to distinguish from wild Banteng; they normally present weakly developed horns and off-white hind parts.1
  • Grzimek (1990)3 argued against separating these local forms into true subspecies because a number of the small populations of wild Banteng which remain have been affected by interbreeding with domestic or feral cattle. Corbet and Hill (1992)4 did not recognize any valid subspecies of Banteng either.  

Additional information