STATUS IN THE WILD: Least Concern
PHYSICAL FEATURES AND CHARACTERISTICS
De Brazza’s monkeys are notable for their distinctive white facial hair. Their heads are round, and their faces have an orange crescent on the forehead area, a white muzzle and long, white fur resembling a beard. Their extremities are black, including their tails which are longer than the length of their head and body combined. They use these long tails for balance. There are long, white stripes on their thighs and rump. Males have a blue scrotum. Males are larger than females and weigh around 17 pounds whereas the females weigh around nine pounds.
LIFESTYLE AND REPRODUCTION
De Brazza’s monkeys are social animals and often live in small groups of four to ten, though sometimes up to thirty-five. Groups generally consist of one dominant male and many females. A female monkey will often live in her mother’s group for life; however, young males leave the group as soon as they are sexually mature. At this point, males often compete for access to a group of females.
They practice three primary modes of communication: visual, vocal, and tactile. Visual communication often occurs between males, especially in conflict situations. Some types of visual communication are staring or yawning to show teeth. Young males establish dominance by strutting around with arched tails and slamming branches. Vocal communication can include low frequency boom calls made by males to indicate territory or isolation calls made by youth when they become separated from the group. Tactile, or touch, communication is important during mating as well as between mothers and offspring.
De Brazza’s are patriarchal and polygynous (males have multiple female partners); however, there have been some reports of monogamy. Breeding season generally occurs during February and March or whenever food is available. Females usually give birth to one infant, and twins are rare. Gestation period is five to six months and the average birth weight is about nine ounces. Time to begin weaning is at twelve months, and age of sexual maturity is five to six years.
De Brazza’s monkeys are found in Central Africa from Cameroon and Angola to Ethiopia.
De Brazza’s monkeys are arboreal, meaning they live in trees, but they are also active on land and have been observed swimming. They live in closed canopy forests with dense vegetation, and near rivers. The environments are humid, and may have swamps and seasonal flooding.
De Brazza’s monkeys are omnivores; however, fruits form the most important part of their diet. They also eat flowers, leaves, mushrooms, beetles, termites, worms, and lizards. While foraging, the monkeys store food in their cheek pouches, and eat it later when they are in a safer area.