Black & White Colobus

Black & White Colobus



COMMON NAME: Eastern black & white colobus, guereza
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Primates
FAMILY: Cercopithecidae
GENUS SPECIES: Colobus (docked; they have very small thumbs, giving the appearance of being cut off) guereza (named for researcher)


DESCRIPTION: A small monkey with a U-shaped mantle of long white fur that descends from its shoulders and around its back. White fur surrounds their black face.
MALE Head and body length = 675 mm (26.6 in)
Tail length = 667 mm (26.3 in)
FEMALE Head and body length = 615 mm (24.2 in)
Tail length = 687 mm (27.0 in)
MALE 13.5 kg (29.8 pds)
FEMALE 7.9-9.2 kg (17.4 - 20.3 pds)
DIET: Herbivorous; leaves, fruit, flowers, twigs
GESTATION: Approximately 6 months
LIFE SPAN: Average approximately 22 years
RANGE: Africa from West Nigeria to East Tanzania and Northern Ethiopia
HABITAT: Primary and secondary forest, riverine forest, wooded grasslands; found at higher density logged forest than other primary forests
STATUS: IUCN Not listed
CITES Appendix II
USFWS Not listed


1. Baby colobus' are born completely white.
2. Ruminant-like digestive system has enabled leaf-eaters, such as colobus', to occupy niches that are inaccessible to other primates.
3. They live in territorial groups of approximately nine individuals, based upon a single male with a number of female and their offspring.
4. The Old World monkeys of the subfamily Colobinae have a specially adapted stomach that is sacculated and supports bacterial colonies. These bacteria make it possible for digestion of cellulose in their diet of leaves, unripe fruit, and seeds.
5. There are documented cases of "allo" mothering, which means members of the troop other than the infant's biological mother care for it.
6. The differences between monkeys and apes are easy to see once you know what to look for. Apes do not have a tail and are generally larger than most other primates. They have a more upright body posture as well. Apes rely more on vision than on smell and have a short broad nose rather than a snout, as Old World monkeys do.
7. Old World monkeys are generally from Africa and Asia while New World monkeys are from the Americas. In Old World monkeys, the nostrils face downward and are narrow. New World monkeys have round nostrils facing to the side. Old World primates are usually larger than New World's. Many of the Old World monkeys are partly terrestrial.


Colobus are important for seed dispersal through their sloppy eating habits as well as through their digestive system. In addition, they are prey for many forest predators.

Colobus struggle from the bushmeat trade, logging, and habitat destruction. In Africa, forest is often referred to as 'the bush', thus wildlife and the meat derived from it is referred to as 'bushmeat'. This term applies to all wildlife species, including threatened and endangered, used for meat. Unfortunately, nearly all African primates fall victim to the trade.


Anderson, Sydney. 1982. Simon and Schuster's Guide to Mammals. Simon and Schuster, New York.

Estes, DE. 1992. The behavior guide to African mammals. Univ. Of Calif. Press. Berkley, CA.

Preston-Mafham, Rod and Ken. 1999. Primates of the world. Sterling Pub., New York.

Rowe, Noel. 1996. The pictorial guide to the living primates. Pogonios Press, NY.

Bushmeat Crisis Task Force.

Chaffee Zoo.

Lincoln Park Zoo.