DE Brazza’s monkey is an Old World monkey endemic to the riverine and swamp forests of central Africa. The largest species in the guenon family, it is one of the most widespread arboreal African primates. Aside from size, it can be differentiated from other Cercopithecus monkeys by its orange diadem and white beard.
Debrazza’s monkeys are locally known as swamp monkeys. Their scientific species name neglectus, which means to pay no attention to, was given to them because of their ability to hide from both humans and predators.
The De Brazza’s monkey is the most sexually dimorphic species of guenon; males weigh around 7 kilograms, while females weigh around 4 kilograms. Adults have grey agouti fur with a reddish-brown back, black limb and tail and a white rump. Both sexes have cheek pouches they use to carry food while they forage. Males have a distinct blue scrotum, while females have a red perianal region and visible nipples.
The white muzzle and beard along with an orange crescent on its forehead and white stripes on its thighs distinguish it from other guenons. Due to this distinctive appearance, the monkey is sometimes referred to as the Ayatollah Monkey.
De Brazza’s monkeys range across the swamps, bamboo and dry mountain forests of Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, South Sudan, Nigeria and Uganda possibly. The gather in troops near water and prefer dense forest and vegetation, only venturing into more open forest to feed and descent to the ground to more on herbaceous plant.
The diet of De Brazza’s monkeys consists mostly of herbaceous plants found on the forest floor and fruits when available. They supplement with insects, seeds, and other food sources when primary foods are scarce.
Female De Barraza’s monkeys reach sexual maturity around 5 years of age, while males do not reach maturity until closer to 6 years of age. Most juveniles males will leave their natal group before they reach maturity. The breeding season lasts from February to March, but females can also go into estrous during times of high food availability. Gestation lasts between 5 to 6 months, and an infant stays close to its mother for the first year of its life at which point it is weaned. Females usually have one infant at a time, though twins have been born on rare occasions, with a yearlong inter-birth interval.
The lifespan of the De Brazza’s monkey is thought to correspond similarly to other members of Cercopithecus which live up to 22 years in the wild and 30 years in captivity. Male De Brazza’s monkey communicates with booming sounds. These are usually heard early in the morning when the male calls out to establish his territory, though he will also use this call to bring the group back together if they get separated. When attacked by predators, males will give an alarm call. The main threats of the De Brazza’s monkeys are deforestation due logging, agriculture and bush meat hunting.