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Common Primates found in Uganda


Papio Anubis

One of the most adaptable of the ground dwelling primates that feed on primarily grass, seeds, leaves, roots and fruits. The most common ones are the Olive baboons usually found in the savannah and forested areas. These long and pointed muzzled monkeys sleep, travel, feed and socialize together in groups of 50+ individuals (Males and twice as many females plus their young ones). Because of their large size, baboons spend much time on the ground carefully grooming themselves to remove insects and they climb trees to look for food or avoid predators. The Olive baboons have a gestation period of about six months (180 days) after which an infant baboon is born. The Male baboons usually compete to copulate with females. It’s also known that the baboons can live up to 30 years.

Can be seen in Budongo forest, Kibale forest, Busitema forest reserve and Lake Mburo national park

Black and white collobus monkey

Colobus Geureza

This monkey is beautifully marked with a black body and white markings on its face, side and rear with a long tail. The collobus monkey is commonly found in forested areas and lives in small groups. Its white tail streaming behind makes it attractive and what makes it more spectacular is the high jumping skills. The infants are born all white but later turn black and white when they grow up. They feed on nuts, seeds, insects, small vertebrates, leaves, stems, barks, flowers, buds, shoots and some aquatic plants.

Blue Monkey

Cercopithecus Mitis

These forest dwellers are not noticeably blue in color but with a little hair on the face giving it a blue appearance. The blue monkeys are 50 to 60 cm in length and weight up to 4 kg for the females and 8 kg for the males. They live in groups of 10 to 40 individuals containing a single adult male. The females normally defend their territories from other groups. The blue monkeys prefer to live in tall trees which provide both food and shelter. Their diet is made up of mainly fruits and leaves. These primates are commonly found in rain-forests & montane bamboo forests can live up to 20 years. Both the male & female monkeys reach sexual maturity at 3 years and the gestation period for the female blue monkey is 5 months.

In Uganda, can be seen in Kibale forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.


Pan troglodytes

Our closest living relatives whom we share 98% of our DNA are the chimpanzees. These prominent great apes which live in Africa’s tropical forests and wet savannah are very intelligent & advanced, long armed, social with short arms and no tail. Chimps have their body covered with dark brown hair, except for the face, fingers, and toes, palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Their diet is mainly fruits and leaves but will also eat ants and meat i.e. they hunt the red-tailed & blue monkeys. They live in troops of 30 to 80 individuals and each adult chimp constructs a primitive nest of tree branches and leaves where they spend a night. The chimps reach sexual maturity at 8 – 10 years and live up to 50 years. Their Gestation period is 8 months.

In Uganda, can be seen in Budongo forest (Royal Mile), Kibale forest, Maramagambo forest, Kyambura Gorge & Kasyoba forest.

De brazza’s Monkey

Cercopithecus neglectus

A monkey with a hairy face, a red-dish-brown patch around its eyes, white band across its brow, white moustache and beard with a relatively short tail. The De brazza’s monkey are active during the morning and afternoon. Their diet is mainly leaves, shoots, fruits, roots, lizards, insects & geckos. They are known to be very good swimmers & climbers and live up to 20 years. The gestation period is 5 and a half months.

Can be seen in Semuliki & Mount Elgon national parks, Uganda.

Grey cheeked Mangabey

Lophocebus albigena

Uganda’s only endemic primates mostly found in Kibale forest. It’s characterized by its large cheeks and short furry tail that is stiff and held to an angle. The Grey cheeked Mangabey weighs up to 12 kg and its length is about 70 cm. These large tree dwelling primates live in groups of 30 individuals and can live up to 32 years while in captivity. These monkeys reach sexual maturity at 5 – 7 years, and their gestation period is about 5 – 5 ½ months.

L’hoest’s monkey

Cercopithecus L’hoesti

This forest monkey is characterized by a black face with backward projecting white whiskers partially covering its ears and carries its tail in an upright position. Their diet is mainly fruit, herbs, roots, flowers and leaves. They live in small troops of a dozen individuals and have a lifespan of 16 ½ years in captivity. The L’hoest’s monkeys are hard to see since they prefer the dense forests. Males weigh 6 kg and females 3.5 kg & they are considered vulnerable with a risk of extinction. One of the activities by these monkeys is mutual grooming of fur particularly on the chain, cheeks and nape. To get an offspring, the monkey take a 5 months gestation period.

Can be seen in Maramagambo forest, Bwindi forest, Kibale forest and Queen Elizabeth national park

Patas Monkey

Erythrocebus Patas

A type of monkey with a lanker build, a light reddish brown coat and a black stripe above the eyes, easily to be confused with the Vervet Monkeys. During the midday heat, they rest and their main activity is in the morning and late afternoon. These monkeys are almost terrestrial, sleeping in trees only at night. Their diet consists of fruit, seeds, leaves, root, ground nuts, birds, eggs and mineral impregnated earth. Their lifespan is 8 years and gestation period is 5 – 6 months.

Can be seen in the dry Savannah of Kidepo and woodlands of northern Uganda.

Red Colobus monkey

Procobus badius

An arboreal monkey with a slightly tufted crown, small head and long back. Closely related to the black & white collobus monkeys, they are referred to as the most threatened taxonomic group of primates in Africa. These monkeys are very sociable and live in scattered groups of 50 or more individuals. They feed on flowers, soft fruits (unripe fruit), shoots and leaves mainly in the morning & afternoon. They are highly sensitive to hunting and habitat destruction and their lifespan is 20 years. The gestation period is of 5 – 7 months until a new one is born.

Can be seen in Bigodi wetland sanctuary and Semliki national Park, Uganda.

Red-tailed monkey

Cercopithecus ascarius

Another forest specie with a distinctive nose patch, elaborate cheek fur and a red tail. Usually moves in small pairs of 5 – 30 individuals, associate with other primates. They feed on flowers, fruits, flower buds, shoots, sap and leaves, trees but also includes insects and ants. They are also active in the morning and late evening hours and can live up to 16 years. A new one can be born after 5 months.

Can be seen Kibale forest, Bwindi forest, Mpanga forest reserve, Budongo Royal Mile, Semliki & Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Vervet monkey

Cercopithecus aethiops

A greenish-olive or silvery-grey monkey with a black face with very distinctive blue male genitals that commonly lives in troops of 20 or more individuals. The male ververt monkeys move freely in and out of these groups. Close bonds with female relatives begin to develop in Infancy. They sleep and eat from the trees where they go to look for food. Their diet is mainly Leaves, young shoots, bark flowers, fruit, bulbs, root, grass seeds, insects. They live up to 24 years and gestation period is 5 ½ months.

Can be seen in Mount Elgon and Lake Mburo National parks.

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Primates in Uganda

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