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Lets see your Black & White Colobus photos


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Black & White or Pied Colobus


Being interested in primates Ive been thinking for a while that it would be good to have a thread for photos of black & white colobus monkeys. I always love to see these beautiful animals when I get the chance so Ive got a fair few photos and I also know that at least a few other members have got some great shots as well. Having taken a few more photos on my recent visit to the Udzungwa Mts. in Tanzania I thought it was time to get the ball rolling.


Jonathan Kingdon in his field guide to African mammals lists five species under the heading Pied Colobus


Guereza Colobus guereza


Angola Pied colobus Colobus angolensis


Geoffroys Pied colobus Colobus vellorosus


Western Pied colobus Colobus polykomos


Black colobus Colobus satanus


So if youve got photos of any of these species please post them here (no reds please, Ill start another thread for red colobus).


Guereza Colobus guereza these striking monkeys have a distribution that stretches from eastern Nigeria across Central Africa north of the Congo River through Uganda into central Kenya (east of the rift) and northern Tanzania and through South Sudan in to Ethiopia. They have a distinctive U shaped white mantle or cape that runs down from the shoulders and across the lower back, a white tail tuft and bushy white hair surrounding the face. The amount of white on the tail and mantle varies significantly according to the subspecies. As is often the case their taxonomy is disputed, there are now generally thought to be seven or perhaps eight subspecies, though more have been suggested in the past.


Sometimes known as Abyssinian black & white colobus these monkeys are common in Ethiopia though less so now than they used to be due to a significant amount of habitat destruction. Guereza is the Amharic name for these animals and is used pretty much throughout Ethiopia and has been adopted for the species as a whole.


The typical guereza Colobus guereza guereza has a long white tail tuft making up about half the length of the tail the rest of the tail is grey/white or darker grey in some animals.



Guereza Wondo Genet Ethiopia


Canon Eos (35mm) + Sigma 70-300mm lens


scanned slide





Wabi Shebelle Hotel No.2 Lake Awassa Ethiopia


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With jacaranda flowers


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Where they're not persecuted colobus can become very tame






Edited by inyathi
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Guereza (Colobus guereza matschiei) photographed in Kakamega Forest, Western Kenya (note the white-tipped dark tail typical of Western Kenyan Guereza).

Guereza (Colobus guereza kikuyuensis) photographed at mid-altitudes on the forested slopes of Mount Kenya (note the all white tail and thick fur).

Guereza (Colobus guereza kikuyuensis) photographed in sub-montane forest in the Aberdare Mountains, Kenya.

Edited by Rainbirder
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It’s good to be able to compare the different races; I haven’t got any photos of those two, though I have seen both of them so thanks Rainbirder great photos; I’ve never had much luck catching one mid leap.


The Mt Kenya guereza C. g. kikuyuensis is found on Mt Kenya, the Aberdares and the Ngong Escarpment.


The Mau Forest guereza C. g. matschiei found in the western rift valley in Kenya in the Mau Forest around Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru west to Mt Elgon and Kakamega Forest and south to the Serengeti (Grumeti River) and Ngorongoro in Tanzania.


Western guereza Colobus guereza occidentalis


This lowland rainforest form found in many Ugandan forests and also west as far as Eastern Nigeria has much shorter hair and a predominantly black tail with a much smaller narrower white tuft.


They can be seen very easily in the Botanical Gardens in Entebbe as well as in Kibale Forest and the neighbouring Bigodi Swamp.


These aren’t great photos but there the only ones I’ve got of this subspecies





Entebbe Botanical Gardens



Bigodi Swamp nr Kibale Forest NP


Canon Eos (35mm) + Sigma 70-300mm lens scanned slides cropped

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From Arusha National Park, subspecies?






I like the baby's tail visible near the female monkey.





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I haven't got a single decent photo of one, but I'm enjoying these - some fabulous photos.

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I’m not any kind of expert but there are three possibly four more subspecies


Guerezas in the east of Ethiopia east of the Awash River may belong to a race called the Djaffa Mts. guereza

C. g. gallarum (Neumann’s b & w colobus) though I think this one may be disputed.


According to this research paper on The taxonomic diversity of the Colobinae of Africa


Colobus gallarum Neumann, 1902, Sber. Ges.

Naturf. Fr. Berlin, 49. Arussi Mountains,

Webi Shebeyli headwaters, Ethiopia.


Diagnosis: tail tuft very bushy, white, extending for 40% of its length; proximal tail black, not grey-white as in C. g. guereza. White sprinkling on thighs, but not on shoulders. Hair on loins under 300mm long; mantle relatively thin, short, but more developed on shoulders than C. g. guereza, and covering base of tail.


Distribution: this taxon is commonly supposed to be found in the Ethiopian Highlands, to the east of the Rift Valley. Carpaneto & Gippoliti (1994), however, saw guerezas in the Harenna Forest (Bale Mts, in the southern part of the highlands east of the Rift Valley) and noted their striking diff erence from gallarum. They have short tails, black basally with a bushy white tuft occupying at least half the total length. Spartaco Gippoliti (personal communication) saw the type of gallarum in the Berlin Museum and confi rmed the considerable diff erence from the Bale Mt. guerezas


The Dodinga Hills guereza C. g. dodingae the status of this race is uncertain as it is restricted to the Dodinga/Didinga Hills in South Sudan (immediately north of Kidepo NP in Uganda) for obvious reasons I don’t suppose many outsiders have been there to look for these colobus.


The Mt Uarges guereza (Percival’s b & w colobus) C. g. percivali is a highly endangered race that is entirely restricted to a number of forests in the Mathews Range in the Samburu District of Kenya. Sadly these monkeys are still occasionally hunted for their skins which are worn as ankle decorations by local Samburu Morans.


I've not seen this one to find about efforts to conserve them and other rare monkeys in Samburu Samburu Primates Research and Conservation


Kilimanjaro colobus Colobus guereza caudatus


These monkeys are found on Mt Kilimanjaro, Mt Meru and in adjoining forests. They have much the longest fur of any of the different guereza races, and have a very bushy tail that is almost entirely white, only the root is black. As can be seen in Twaffle's photos and the following


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Ngurduto Crater Forest Arusha NP (this is a great place to see these colobus)


Canon Eos 20D +100-400mm lens


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Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge nr Arusha is another great place to see them newborn colobus are entirely white as this infants legs show


Canon Eos 20D +100-400mm lens






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Canon Eos 50D + 100-400mm lens

Edited by inyathi
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Love those photos, always a favorite of mine but I find that primates (excluding great apes) don't really captivate people and I don't know why. When we were children, sighting colobus was a highlight of any trip to 'the farm' at Naro Moro.

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Do any race of Guereza live to the south of the Congo river?

No, not this species


Also, how far west the distribution of Guereza goes? (I think they occur in Ghana, but I have no information as to further west).


Only as far west as Cameroon and just into eastern Nigeria and to the south in Eastern Gabon and Congo(Brazzaville)


In West Africa there are two species Geoffroy's pied or white-thighed colobus Colobus vellerosus from Benin through Togo to Ghana and Eastern Ivory Coast, this species can be seen very easily in Ghana at the Boabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary but I've not been to Ghana yet and I've never seen one so I don't have any photos.


Then from Western Ivory Coast through Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau, there is the western pied or king colobus Colobus polykomos


I've not been to any of these countries, so I've not seen this species in the wild, here are couple of photos of them in captivity at Marwell Zoo nr Winchester I'm not a huge fan of zoos but Marwell is a pretty good one. With so many wonderful wild shots it seems a bit of a shame to post these, but I don't suppose anyone here has got shots of this species in the wild.


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I guess I'm a bit of a 'monkey nut' although all mammals interest me, I suppose for a lot of people monkeys just aren't as interesting as the big cats or elephants and the other big stuff. Certainly for first time visitors seeing the big game, is always going to be the priority, not looking for monkeys however beautiful they might be. If you going to Tanzania and you stay at Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge at the beginning of your trip, you don't have to look very hard to find the guerezas (and Sykes's) they're just in the garden so you can easily see them, before you head off to Tarangire or the Serengeti or wherever to see all the big exciting stuff.

Edited by inyathi
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Back to the wild :)


Angola Pied Colobus


The Angola colobus differs from the guereza in that hair on the cheeks is generally much longer forming distinct tufts and instead of having a mantle running down the back they have white epaulettes. Also the white tuft on the tail is less pronounced, as with the guereza the amount of white particularly on the tail and the length of hair various according to the subspecies, for obvious reasons mountain races have longer hair. Their taxonomy is also disputed so there may be six or possibly eight subspecies, they’re found primarily in the southern Congo Basin in the DRC (and into the far northwest of Angola) from there extending northeast up into the Ituri Forest and the Ruwenzori Mountains on the Uganda border and also east to Lake Tanganyika, Burundi and Rwanda. Depending on your point of view two or three races occur in East Africa


Adolf Friedrich’s pied or Ruwenzori pied colobus C. a. ruwenzorii in Uganda Semliki Valley and Ruwenzori Mountains and Minziro Forest in far northwest of Tanzania. A population possibly of this race lives on Mount Nkungwe the highest mountain in the Mahale Mountains NP. The best place to see them in large numbers is Nyungwe NP in Rwanda


Peter’s Angolan colobus C. a. palliatus this race is found in south eastern Kenya in the coastal forests around Diani and up in the Shimba Hills it no longer occurs north of Mombasa. Its main range is in Tanzania in the montane forests of the Eastern Arc Mountains in coastal forests and in patches of riverine forest on the Rufiji River. Colobus living in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania around Mt Rungwe and in the Misuku Hills nr Chitipa in the far north of Malawi are considered by some to belong to another race Sharpe’s colobus C. a. sharpei


For more info on the Angolan colobus in Kenya Wakuluzu Friends of the Colobus Trust





Angolan colobus C. a. Palliatus Usambara Mts. Canon Eos 20D +100-400mm lens


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Rufiji River scanned slides cropped Ricoh (35mm) +Tamron 70-210









Uluguru Mts. Scanned slides cropped Ricoh (35mm) + Tamron 70-210


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Udzungwa Mts. Canon Eos 50D +100-400mm lens cropped

Edited by inyathi
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This is fascinating stuff on the variety of colobus monkeys and almost makes you feel that there would be a market for a 'colobus spotting safari'.


Thanks Inyathi for all these wonderful photos and information.

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Quotes removed by request 



I like to know these things myself so I don't mind doing a little research. :)



According to Kingdon the race of Angolan Colobus in North Eastern DRC is called Colobus angolensis cottoni and they definitely overlap with C. g. occidentalis in the Ituri forest and other parts of North Eastern DRC but not in Uganda. In Semliki NP the b & w colobus are guerezas, there are Angola Pied in montane forest nearby but they don't actually overlap.



Perhaps you can also sort out the taxonomy of the guerezas in the Harenna Forest when you're on your Ethiopian trip. :D

Edited by kittykat23uk
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I think I'm done with black and white colobus for now but if anyone else has got photos of Angolan colobus or perhaps more guerezas feel free to add them.


Black Colobus



The black colobus has the scientific name Colobus satanus and is sometimes known as the satanic colobus due to its entirely black colouration and pointed ears.


There are two subspecies, the Bioko black colobus C. s. satanus which is entirely restricted to the island of Bioko part of Equatorial Guinea and the mainland black colobus C. s. anthracinus found in Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon and possibly North West Congo (Brazzaville). Like all colobus species they have no thumbs, a local saying in Gabon describes the call of this monkey as an incessant "pourquoi-moi quatre doigts?" "why me four fingers?"






Black Colobus Mikongo Lope NP Gabon Canon EOS 20D + 100-400mm lens cropped

Edited by inyathi
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  • 4 months later...


Edited by Tdgraves
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Nice photos thanks Twaffle :)


Yes these are the western or Central African Guereza C. guereza occidentalis, I'm not sure about those in the Maramagambo Forest as I haven't been there but I would think that the colobus there would be the same, there is presumably some variation within subspecies which might account for them appearing slightly different.

Edited by inyathi
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  • 1 year later...

Lake Naivasha, Kenya



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  • 10 months later...



Photographed at the Burguret River, near Nanyuki, Kenya, on 29 September, 2014, at 3:01 pm, using an EOS 1D X camera with a Zeiss Apo-Sonnar T* 135mm f/2 ZE telephoto lens.


ISO 640, 1/2000 sec., f/2, 135mm focal length, handheld Shutter Priority exposure.


It's no secret that one reason that I enjoy the drive north from Nairobi to Meru and Samburu is that I love a leisurely lunch at the Trout Tree restaurant, located on the Burguret River a few kilometers north of Nanyuki.


Being partial to steamed fish, the fresh trout en Papillote which they graciously serve upon request is an elegant pre-safari repast. The Trout Tree is well worth a stop if passing through the area.


Tree hyraxes, Sykes' monkeys and Guereza Colobus monkeys live around the open air restaurant.


After lunch, I watched a Colobus family playing together. This mature monkey was delighted by the antics of juveniles.

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  • 6 months later...


Colobus Mother and Infant

Photographed at 12:06 pm on 28 April, 2014 at the Trout Tree Restaurant, near Naro Moru, Kenya, using an EOS 1D X camera and an EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II super-telephoto lens.

ISO 800, 1/1600 sec., f/2.8, 400mm focal length, handheld Manual exposure.


Without meaning any disrespect, when I saw this Colobus mother with her infant, something about her pose brought to mind classical paintings of the Madonna and Child.

The universality of mammalian motherhood features protection, nurture and guidance. This is one of my favorite Kenya images as it reflects the intelligence of both subjects.

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  • 1 year later...

Kakamega Forest (Pumphouse Trail), western Kenya.



Nandi Forest fragment, western Kenya.



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  • 4 weeks later...



Fully Displayed


Photographed at 1:06 pm on 28 April, 2014 at the Trout Tree Restaurant, Naro Moru, Kenya, using an EOS 1D X camera and an EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II super-telephoto lens.


ISO 800, 1/2000 sec., f/2.8, 400mm focal length, handheld Manual exposure.




The Trout Tree Restaurant is situated in and around venerable trees along a small river, many of which have attained substantial size. Birds are a given in the branches.


There are also black and white Colobus monkeys. They're habituated to the presence of visitors while maintaining their distance in order to protect their young.

Edited by Tom Kellie
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@Tom Kellie Beautiful shot. 


I've just noticed that one of my black colobus shots from Mikongo Forest in Lope NP in Gabon in post 16 above is missing, I guess I must have replaced the original on Flickr with an edited version, as I did replace some of my Gabon photos with larger versions quite recently. Usually if I'm replacing photos on Flickr with improved edited versions I check to make sure that it won't mess up any of my trip reports but I'm guessing perhaps the photo wasn't in my Gabon report and I didn't consider this thread. Here's a larger version of one of the photos posted above and two other photos one of which must be the missing one.


Black colobus (Colobus satanus)






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  • 1 month later...




Colobus Infant Looking at the Lens


~ Photographed with a Canon EOS 1D X camera mounted with an EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II super-telephoto lens, hand-held, Manual shooting mode.
At the Trout Tree Restaurant, near Naro Moru, Kenya, on 28 April, 2014 at 11:58 am, ISO 800, f/4, 1/1000 sec.
When posting a previous image of this Colobus mother and child, I couldn't find the infant looking at the lens.
Going back through the camera memory card I found one with a gentle little gaze. It's well worth enjoying lunch at the Trout Tree for this.
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  • 2 months later...

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