Zanzibar Red Colobus

The Zanzibar red colobus (Piliocolobus kirkii) is a red colobus monkey native to Zanzibar. It is also named Kirk’s red colobus.

This Old World monkey has a coat that ranges from dark red to black. It is accented with a black stripe along the shoulders and arms, and a pale underside. Its black face is crowned with long white hair, and features a disguising pink mark on its lips and nose. Also, the Zanzibar red colobus has a long tail used for balancing. Females have little difference in their body size and color from their male counterparts. They usually outnumber the males in their groups.

The groups consist of up to four adult males and many adult females. Young of varying ages also are incorporated in the group. The number of monkeys in a group can range from thirty to fifty individuals. The monkeys are very social animals, and can often be observed playing and grooming during the rest periods between meals.

Feeding is also a group activity. It begins to feed in the morning. They are more active during the cooler parts of the day. Loud calls from males indicate the group is ready to move to another tree to feed. This monkey usually eats leaves, leaf shoots, seeds, flowers, and unripe fruit. It is one of the few species that do not eat ripe fruits. It has a four-chambered stomach, which cannot digest the sugars contained in the fruits. It also consumes charcoal, which is believed to aid their digestion of the toxins in the leaves.

The Zanzibar red colobus prefers drier areas over wet ones, such as coastal thickets and coastal rag scrub. It can also be found in agricultural areas and in mangrove swamps. When found in agricultural areas, the monkeys are more used to humans and come closer to the ground.