De Brazza’s Monkeys in Uganda are one of the distinctive monkey species because of their outstanding appearance and behaviour. They are scientifically known as Cercopithecus neglectus. This type of monkey is adorned with a striking orange-red cresent-shaped patch on the forehead. The face has a white muzzle extending into a long, white beard, while the coat is mostly speckled grey and white, with black limbs and tail.
De Brazza’s Monkeys in Uganda
De Brazza’s Monkeys also have a white stripe on the thigh and the rump, with a bright blue scrotum among the males. Unlike other monkeys, De Brazzas are generally shy and hide in the tree canopies. But they can also be found moving on the ground, especially while hunting for insects. They mainly feed on fruits, seeds, leaves, mushrooms, insects and small reptiles. They also store food in their cheek pouches while hunting and eat when they get to a safe location.
De Brazza’s Monkeys live in small families comprising a male and a female and their offspring. They become sexually active at the age of five and six years. The species can breed throughout the year, with the female usually giving birth to a single infant after a gestation period of around six to seven months. The young ones cling to their mothers’ belly for protection at all times. De Brazza monkeys can live up to 22 years in the wild and longer in confinement. They can reach up to 64cm and weigh up to 7kg for males and 4kg for females.
De Brazza’s Monkeys are offensive to other monkey species which attempt to trespass in their territory. When attacked by strangers, all males climb high on trees and make loud noise to distract the enemies, while others go into hiding. They are also preyed on by other animals like the African eagles and leopards. They are also killed by humans. They are some of the species facing extinction in the country because of human activities and the disappearing forest cover. They exist predominantly in the closed canopy, preferring dense vegetation near rivers and lakes. In Uganda, De Brazza monkeys can be seen around Mt. Elgon in eastern Uganda and Semliki National Park.
By: Edward Nankunda