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

Cite This Page

APA7MLA8Chicago (2024, April 13). Zanzibar Red Colobus. Bio Explorer. "Zanzibar Red Colobus" Bio Explorer, 13 April 2024, "Zanzibar Red Colobus" Bio Explorer, April 13 2024.
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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