It is known as Kima/Nchima in Swahili and having other names such as blue monkeys or samango’s or white-throated monkey. The majority have a grey coloration, but they do have a blackish tail, limbs and shoulders with some chestnutty patches on their back and face. Finally they have a white chin and throat and a white ruff that extends around part of their neck. They have gorgeous brown/orange eyes with a slightly large squashed nose.
Sykes monkeys have an average life span of around 27 years in the wild. They can range from 50 to 70cm in body length with the males weighing between 6-9kg and females 3-6kg.
The Syke monkey is native to Angola; Burundi; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Ethiopia; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Rwanda; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe. They are semi-arboreal semi-terrestrial and are comfortable in both environments.
Habitat and Ecology
This species is present in many different forest types including lowland and montane tropical moist forest, riverine and gallery forest, delta forest and bamboo forest. Also found in sand forest. It can occur in secondary forest, logged forest and thickets. Group size ranges from 2 to more than 40 individuals. The gestation period is around 176 days after which a single young is usually born.
Their main diet is shoots, fruits, leaves, flowers and berries, but they do also consume eggs, insects and any opportunistic human food they can get their hands on (especially when it comes to unsuspecting tourists).
Sykes are very territorial and live in female bonded; single-male troops and the group size can vary between 4-65. The groups are very stable and peaceful with the resident male maintaining dominance for years and the sub-adult males being evicted readily. Sometimes an outsider male will learn to imitate the call of the group’s dominant male to attract the females away.
The mating system is polygynous, and there is a corresponding sexual dimorphism in size, with the males substantially the larger sex. Females normally give birth every two years, during the onset of the warm, rainy season; gestation is around five months, and the infants are born with fur and with their eyes open. Group sizes range from 10 to 40, containing only a single adult male.
As a species Cercopithecus mitis are rated as ‘least concern’ by the IUCN as it is widespread, common, present in numerous protected areas, and there are no major threats. However, when considered at subspecies level their rating ranges from data deficient to critically endangered.
- Kingdon, J., Gippoliti, S., Butynski, T.M., Lawes, M.J., Eeley, H., Lehn, C. & De Jong, Y. 2008. Cercopithecus mitis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T4221A10676022. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T4221A10676022.en . Downloaded on 06 October 2015.
Examining the Sykes monkey
Blood sample collection from Sykes monkey