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Black and White Colobus

Colobus guereza is a species.

Female head and body length: 48-65 cm; male head and body length: 54-75 cm

Tail length ranges from 65 to 90 centimeters.

Weight: 10–23 kg [in Uganda, men 9–14.5 kg; females 6.5–10 kg]

Unique black-and-white monkey with a long, bushy white tail and white cheek hair. Long limbs, tiny head, and four fingers on the front of the hands. In lowland woods, she has short, thin hair, whereas in the mountains, she has longer, thicker hair.

  • Most young are born during the rainy season, during a six-month gestation period. Until they are 14 to 17 weeks old, the young are primarily white with pink faces. They are borne by females for up to 8 months before being able to move on their own at around 5 weeks. They can play and explore on their own by four months and are only carried while the entire troop is traveling. By 23 – 25 weeks, mothers mostly ignore their children.


  • Where to search for them: If you enter the park from either of the southern gates, you may be able to view these monkeys from your automobile, especially if the forest canopy is overhanging the road. Taking a woodland stroll in the Busingiro, Kaniyo-Pabidi, or Rabongo woods increases your chances of encountering them.
What to look for
“Colobe,” the name’s Greek origin, means “cripple.” The absence of thumbs on the hands of colobus monkeys gives rise to this name. They have evolved to be nearly fully arboreal (tree-dwelling), with their hands developing into modified hooks for dangling from trees. A thumb would just obstruct the process.

Because the lack of a thumb makes catching live prey difficult, colobus monkeys have evolved to be significantly more vegetarian than most other primates. Their digestive systems have evolved to resemble those of antelopes, allowing them to swallow leaves and twigs that would be too coarse, non-nutritious, or even poisonous to other monkeys.

They can store up to a third of their body weight in their two-chambered stomachs, where it is digested while they sleep.

Chimpanzees hunt on colobus monkeys in locations where they coexist, as they do in all of Murchison Falls Conservation Area’s forest habitats.


They are not classified as endangered, although their range has been severely limited due to habitat degradation and poaching. Because there is no legal protection for mountain communities, their pelts may be hunted to extinction. Their pelts are also used to produce drum heads, and there are initiatives underway to encourage drum makers to utilize black-and-white goat skins instead.


  1. Information in Detail:
  • They are primates
  • Catarrhini is a superfamily.
  • Cercopithecoidea is their family
  • Colobidae is a subfamily of this species.
  • Colobus is a genus.
  • guereza is a species.
General Information/Adjustments
  • The black-and-white monkey has a long, bushy white tail and white cheek hair. Long limbs, tiny head, and four fingers on the front of the hands. In lowland woods, she has short, thin hair, whereas in the mountains, she has longer, thicker hair. Kingdon (p. 26)

Except for humans, other great apes, and bushbabies, the primates in Africa are all cercopithecoid monkeys. The cercopithecoid monkeys are classified as colobids (“thumbless monkeys”) and “cheek-pouch monkeys,” a more diversified family. Monkeys separated from giant apes approximately 20 and 10 million years ago.


The capacity to digest plant portions (stems, unripe fruits, and leaves) that apes could not swallow allowed colobids to utilize thick forest (being largely restricted to shoots and ripe fruits). Cheek-pouch monkeys have evolved to eat in open regions, since they can swiftly gather vast amounts of food and store it in their cheek pouches to be sorted later.

Baboons are one such example. Male cheek-pouch monkeys fight vigorously for available food sources and are more apparent in open places, making them more sexually dimorphic. p. 17 (Kingdon)

  • Food: The adaption of the hands indicates that they evolved to be entirely arboreal and vegetarian at a young age. They have changed their hands into curved ‘hooks’ for swinging, and because they lack a thumb, they cannot catch living prey and must instead take plants directly into their mouths. Because the pied colobus is more developed than the red colobus, it can survive on lower-quality foliage. This provides them with an advantage. (Page 18 of Kingdon)

The digestion of colobus monkeys has evolved similarly to that of ruminants. They can store up to a third of their total weight in their stomachs, which is subsequently digested during extended periods of sleeping and relaxing in the middle of the day.

Bacterial fermentation aids digestion in ruminants and other herbivores. p. 19 (Kingdon)

They have a two-chambered stomach, with fermentation taking place in one and acid digestion taking place in the other. The fermenting process also detoxifies otherwise harmful leaves, seeds, and fruit. As a result, they may feed with less competition from other primates. Estés (p. 520)

Newborns have completely white skin and pink faces. Estes (page 523)


Vocal:\s(Estes, p.527) (Estes, p.527)

Roaring is said to be released solely by dominant males, especially early in the morning. It’s a deep, resonant croaking sound with a rolling “r” that may be heard for miles. They may continue to call in this manner for up to 20 minutes. It can be used to either advertise the male’s presence or to indicate a threat.

Black and White ColobusSnorting: An explosive sound made by everyone except babies to show fear. For dominant males, this is sometimes a precursor to roaring.

Snuffling is the sound of a pig rooting. Females and children will make this sound during intra-troop conflict, such as a female pushing away a nursing newborn or violent encounters between females and males.

Squealing: This is a distress signal emitted by adult females and young.


Soft grunting or purring: An alert cry for short-distance communication, such as a troop movement signal. It might also indicate the presence of a predator nearby.

Adults employ tongue-clicking as a preparation for a hostile engagement. Snorting is milder.

Jumping and smashing through trees may be employed by a dominant male to demonstrate his size and power. Sometimes accompanied by roaring. Estes (page 529)

They spend the center of the day virtually completely inactive or sleepy, similar to ruminants. p. 17 (Kingdon)


These monkeys leave their resting trees long after sunup and ascend to the canopy, where they sunbathe for up to an hour in view of adjacent groups. They take regular arboreal trips to their feeding trees and eat until it becomes hot. They will rest and groom until the evening when another activity peak will occur until approximately an hour before sunset when they will return to their resting trees. Estes (page 526)


Look for the trail of a hand with only four fingers as a sign.


Chimpanzees, humans, leopards, and crowned hawk-eagles

  1. Estes is a reference (1991). The African Mammal Behavior Guide. The University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.
  2. Kingdon (1997). The African Mammal Field Guide by Kingdon. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.