6 Reasons De Brazza’s Monkeys are not your average primate

March 6, 2018


De Brazza’s monkeys belong to the genus “Cercopithecus”, commonly referred to as as guenons. Guenons are medium-sized, forest-dwelling old world monkeys native to Africa. Guenons are known for their striking color patterns, long tails, and large cheek pouches—and the De Brazza’s are no exception. They have a brightly colored brow, long white beard, and a tail that is often longer than their entire body! Their cheek pouches are quite large, allowing them to forage on the forest floor before climbing to the relative safety of trees to eat the seeds, fruits, and leaves they have found. While they share many traits with other guenons, they are still an incredibly unique species.


Here are six facts that set them apart:

  1. They will freeze when they feel threatened. This behavior is so unique that it forms the basis for their species name, “neglectus”, in reference to their “neglect” of their environment while frozen. Entire groups have been known to freeze for hours on end before silently moving away when the threat is gone. 

  2. They love water and can even swim. While many monkeys avoid water, De Brazza’s are often found playing and foraging near rivers.

  3. They can be monogamous and sometimes pair for life. Most primates live in large groups with one male and many females. In some parts of their range De Brazza’s tend to form monogamous family groups instead. This is thought to be a consequence of a desire for a smaller group, which may help them better hide from predators.

  4. They do not play well with other species of monkey. While they are not aggressive towards other groups of De Brazza’s, they will aggressively defend their territory against other monkey species.

  5. Their population has been helped by conservation efforts. De Brazza's monkeys were once in quick decline due to habitat loss and hunting. Today, much of their range is protected. With continued protection, this species may be able to bounce back.

  6. Their babies grow up faster than other guenons. At five months old they can already forage for their own food.


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