Scientific Name: Colobus guereza
Common Name: Black And White Colobus, Guereza
Distribution: found along the Donga river, Gashaka,
Ngelnyaki, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gojjam, Kulla, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, N Congo,
E Gabon, Central African Republic, NE Zaire, W Kenya, NW Rwanda, and S Sudan.
Description: The coloration of the Guereza's fur is
distinctly black and white, and their faces are gray and have no fur. The coat
is glossy black, and the face and callosities are surrounded by white. A
U-shaped white mantle of varying length is found on the sides. The outside of
the thigh is variably whitish, while the tail is either a whitish or yellowish
color from tip to base. There is also a large white tuft at the end of the tail.
Difference in Sex:
Average Weight: 5 to 14 kg
Habitat: Guerezas live in forest, woodlands, or wooded
grasslands. They are generally diurnal and arboreal, but can also survive in
dry, moist, or riparian forests that are either in lowlands or up to 3300 m.
They are most abundant in secondary forests or along rivers. They tend to live
in the lower part of the trees if their area does not overlap with that of any
other group of monkeys. When trees are not densely spaced, guerezas feed and
travel on the ground.
Habits: Guerezas are generally diurnal, highly arboreal
residents of deep forest. However,when the trees are not densely packed,
guerezas will feed and travel on the ground. Guerezas live in sexually mixed
groups averaging 8 to 15 individuals, with usually only one fully adult male and
three or four reproducing females, adolescents and infants. Sometimes several
males are present in mixed groups, but only temporarily. The fixed core of the
mixed group consists of the females, who remain in their birth group for life.
These females are thought to be close relatives that display their friendly
intragroup relationships, marked by mutual grooming and well-developed "infant
transfer.O This latter phenomenon consists of an infant soon after birth being
handled by several females and carried as far as 25 m from its mother. A mother
may even suckle the infant of another female and her own simultaneously.
Black and white Colobus Monkeys spend most of their time
sitting in the tops of trees; and they take turns sleeping at night so that at
least one individual is awake at all times to watch for predators.
Unlike the females, the young males leave the group of their
birth before they are fully mature. The adolescent guereza males leave their
birth group either voluntarily or due to force from the adult male of the birth
group. When young males leave, they lead a solitary life or temporarily
associate with other solitaries. Some black and white monkey males eventually
take over their own harem and create a new birth group.
There is no true leader of a group, but strong males usually
take leadership roles. There are definite indications of infanticide in
consequence of the threat of male replacements within mixed groups.
Intergroup relationships are not friendly among mixed groups
of guerezas, which live in well-defined territories of about 32-40 acres.
Territories may overlap marginally; they are vigorously defended by males with
leaps and cries,hand-to- hand communication, roars, and occasional chasing and
fighting. Additionally, displays of their white fringe fur flapping up and down
serve as warning to other monkeys. Some groups, however, do share water holes
and other essential resources.
Main feeding time: diurnal
Size: The head and body length is 45-72 cm and the tail
length is 52-100 cm.
Gestation: about 6 months
Number of young at birth: one young every 20 months
Communication: Male guerezas roar loud nocturnal and
dawn choruses as a means of spacing groups. Five vocal sounds have been
recorded: roars, snorts, purrs, honks, and screams.
Diet: Their diet consists primarily of (especially from
Celtis durandii, the Hackeberry Tree) young unripe leaves, mature leaves,
fruits, leaf buds, and blossoms. Guereza's get water from dew and the moisture
content of their diet, or rainwater held in the tree trunk hollows.
Interesting facts: The guereza is one of many monkey
species that is sacred to the Hindu and Buddhist religions. They play a major
role in these religions as icons of sacred gods.