The grey-cheeked mangabey (Lophocebus albigena), also known as the white-cheeked mangabey, is a greyish-black monkey looking in shape like a small, hairy baboon. It has thick brown fur, a slightly golden mane around the neck, a shaggier appearance than any guenon, and light-grey cheeks.
The grey-cheeked mangabey lives in lowland and mid-altitude forests but mostly prefers secondary forest habitats.
In Uganda, you will likely encounter the grey-cheeked mangabey in the Kibale National Park and Semuliki National Park.
Another related species in Uganda is the Johnston’s mangabey (Lophocebus johnstoni). There are nine mangabey species, and each troop has its home range to avoid confrontations.
Mangabeys live in groups, called troops, of between ten and 40 individuals, either led by a single male or (more usually) several, without a single dominant male.
Adult male Mangabeys produce a distinctive ‘Whoop-Gobble’ sound to make their presence known—the call can be heard almost a kilometre away.
When younger males reach maturity, they leave their troop and join another, while females stay with their natal group throughout their life.
Mangabeys are arboreal and excellent jumpers, spending most of the time in the upper canopy. The Grey-cheeked mangabey’s tail is strong enough to help it hook onto branches as it leaps through the forest.
This primate‘s diet is highly diverse and consists mainly of fruit, seeds, nuts, buds, shoots, leaves and flowers—invertebrates, such as ants, ant larvae and caterpillars. Also, adult males occasionally prey on smaller mammals.
Mangabeys have large incisors that allow the primates to crack open hard nuts, while cheek pouches enable them to stash away food for later consumption.
The Grey-cheeked Mangabey is listed on the IUCN Red list as Vulnerable to extinction because of its decreasing numbers, continuing loss of its habitat, and hunting for bushmeat as significant threats.