Skip to main content - The Official Portal for North Dakota State Government
Black bullhead illustration

Black Bullhead

Catfish Family: Catfish family members range in size from small to large and get their name from their whisker-like barbels.

Black Bullhead Identification

  • adipose fins
  • whisker-like barbels
  • No scales
  • 17-20 rays in the anal fin
  • Compared to channel catfish, bullheads are stockier, darker in color, have a more rounded, slightly notched tail, and are not as large


Black bullhead do not have scales, and their smooth skin contains taste buds across their entire body.

The black bullhead is our most common bullhead.

North Dakota also have yellow and brown bullheads. There are also variations in color in the three bullhead species as the names suggest, but not as noticeable as might be expected.