Zanzibar Red Colobus

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Primates Cercopithecidae Piliocolobus Piliocolobus kirkii
Zanzibar Red Colobus
IUCN Status: Endangered
  • Common Name: Zanzibar Red Colobus
  • Taxonomy Classification Year: 1868
  • Monkey Size: 45 to 70 cm (17.72 to 27.56 in)
  • Skin Color(s): Dark red to black
  • Habitat: Forest, scrub forest
  • Diet: Herbivorous
  • Native Countries: Tanzania

Zanzibar Red Colobus Distribution

Zanzibar Red Colobus Characteristics

Zanzibar Red Colobus

The Zanzibar red colobus[1] (Piliocolobus kirkii) is endemic to Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar archipelago off the coast of Tanzania.

  • These medium-sized monkeys have small bellies typical of leaf-eating monkeys.
  • Their coat (or pelt) ranges from dark red to black and is sometimes accented by a black stripe down their shoulders and arms.
  • The middle and lower back color varies from reddish brown to orange. Zanzibar Red colobus monkeys have black hands, feet, and faces with long white hair.
  • Their lips and nose are pink. The abdomen or abdominal region is white to light gray.
  • Babies have only black and white fur, with the introduction of red and brown pigment occurring around 3 to 5 months of age.
  • Full adult coloration is not achieved until the age group of 6 to 11 months. All types of colobus monkeys have stub thumbs as well as long tails used for balance and posture.
  • Their particularly long hind legs facilitate large leaps between trees, as do their long fingers, which form a hook-like grip that allows them to grasp branches quickly.

Piliocolobus Kirkii

Zanzibar Red Colobus Facts

Sir John Kirk Monkey

  • The Zanzibar red colobus, often referred to as Kirk’s red colobus is named after Sir John Kirk, the British resident of Zanzibar who first spotted these creatures.
  • Locals call it Kima Punju, which means poisonous monkey in Swahili, because of its distinctive pungent smell.
  • Due to their slow digestive tract, they are the slowest of all colobus monkey species.
  • Long calls consisting of howls and high-pitched cries are given to express dominance and sexual interest in females.
  • Both sexes are considered promiscuous, and females mate with multiple males during estrus.

Unguja Monkey

Suggested Reading: Every Type of Monkey

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BioExplorer.net. (2022, December 07). Zanzibar Red Colobus. Bio Explorer. https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/mammals/monkeys/zanzibar-red-colobus/.
BioExplorer.net. "Zanzibar Red Colobus" Bio Explorer, 07 December 2022, https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/mammals/monkeys/zanzibar-red-colobus/.
BioExplorer.net. "Zanzibar Red Colobus" Bio Explorer, December 07 2022. https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/mammals/monkeys/zanzibar-red-colobus/.
Key References
  • [1]“Zanzibar’s endemic red colobus Piliocolobus kirkii: first systematic and total assessment of population, demography and distribution | Oryx | Cambridge Core”. Accessed November 12, 2022. Link.

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