Black-and-White Colobus (Colobus guereza)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family:    Cercopithecidae
Size:    Length: 25 inches (63 cm)
Weight: 14.3 to 32 pounds (6.5 to 14.5 kg)
Diet: Leaves, fruit, flowers
Distribution: Africa
Young:  1, approximately every 20 months
Animal Predators:  Crowned hawk eagles
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Group: Troop
Lifespan: Up to 20 years in the wild and up to 23 years in captivity



·       Eastern black-and-white colobuses are also known as guerezas.

·       The name colobus is derived from a Greek word meaning “mutilated” because they have only a small stub where a thumb would be.



Eastern black-and-white colobuses have long black and white fur with a naked, dark grey face. The face is surrounded by white fur, while the top of the head is black, as is the back, with a fringe of long white fur stretching from one shoulder, down and around the back and ending on the other shoulder. The legs are black and the long tail is black, but ending with a long, fluffy white tuft. They have large stomachs with several compartments to ferment and digest the roughage that they eat, enabling them to obtain full nutrition from their food. 



Eastern black-and-white colobuses live in the forest regions of Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.


Feeding Habits

They feed in the morning, then rest in the afternoon when it is the hottest, and then feed again once the temperature cools down and before the sun goes down. 



Eastern black-and-white colobuses give birth to one baby almost five to six months after conception. Newborns weigh just under one pound and the mother carries her baby by using one arm to hold it while she moves from place to place. Adult females in a troop may handle or even nurse each other’s infants. The male also takes part in the care of his offspring and is gentle and patient while playing with them. Newborns are covered in white fur, which begins to turn to the black and white colouring of the adults when they are three months. Females are fully mature by the age of four or five, while males mature between the ages of six to eight.



A typical troop consists of one adult male, three adult females and their offspring. Eastern black-and-white colobuses engage in grooming each other to establish social bonds as well as to remove parasites and dead skin. Females and youngsters greet each other by embracing either from behind or face to face. They are active during the day and spend much of their time in trees. When they descend to the ground, they walk using all four limbs. 



The subspecies Percival’s black-and-white colobus of Kenya is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because of its limited range.