Grey-cheeked Mangabey (Lophocebus albigena)
The Grey-cheeked Mangabey is found in both primary and secondary forest, although it occurs at low densities in the latter.
This greyish-black monkey has few distinguishing features. It has baboon-like mannerisms, a shaggier appearance than any guenon, light-grey cheeks and a slight mane. Grey-cheeked mangabeys live in lowland and mid-altitude forests.
In Uganda, they are most likely to be seen in the Kibale Forest, where they are common, as well as in Semliki National Park.
The race found in Uganda is also known as Johnston’s mangabey (Lophocebus johnstoni), a species of crested mangabey in the family Cercopithecidae. It had been considered a subspecies of the gray-cheeked mangabey (L. albigena), but in 2007 was given the status of species by Colin Groves, with Osman Hill’s mangabey (L. osmani) and the Uganda mangabey (L. ugandae).
Habitat and Ecology
Mangabeys live in groups, called troops, of between ten and 40 individuals, usually led by one or several males. When younger males reach maturity, they leave their troop and join another, while females stay with their natal group throughout their life.
All Mangabeys are arboreal, spending most of the time in the upper canopy and excellent jumpers, but the Grey-cheeked Mangabey’s tail is strong enough to help it hook on to branches are they leap through the forest.
This primate‘s Diet is highly diverse and consists mainly of fruit, seeds, nuts as well as buds, shoots, leaves and flowers. Invertebrates, such as ants, ant larvae and caterpillars, are also consumed, while adult males have occasionally been recorded preying on smaller mammals. Large incisors allow the monkey crack open hard nuts, while cheek pouches enable it to collect food that can be eaten later on.
Adult male Mangabeys produce a distinctive ‘Whoop-Gobble’ sound to make their presence known, a call that can be heard up to a kilometre away. There are nine species of Mangabey in all and each troop has its own home range in an effort to avoid confrontations.
The Grey-cheeked Mangabey is listed as on the IUCN Red list as Vulnarable (VU) because of its decreasing numbers dues continuing loss of its habitat and hunting for bushmeat are significant threats.