A red-capped


A mother and baby


Order: Primates
Family: Cercopithecidae

What does “mangabey” mean?

These primates are named “mangabey” after the port city of Mangabe in Madagascar, because they were mistakenly thought to be found in Madagascar. Red-capped mangabeys are also known as cherry-capped mangabeys and white-collared mangabeys.

What do red-capped mangabeys look like?

Red-capped mangabeys are a medium-size African monkey. Their body is gray-black to chestnut-brown. The hair on the top of their head is a dark maroon-red, with black tips. The white hair on the side of their head extends around their neck like a collar to a white patch on the back of their head. White hair is also found on the underside of their chin and in the area below their eyebrow, which enhances facial displays. Their dark chestnut-brown tail is white-tipped. Juveniles are usually darker in color than their older counterparts. Mangabeys are slender, with a head and body length of 60 cm and a tail of 65 cm. Males range in weight from 11 to 14 kg and females 7 to 10 kg. Males are about 20% larger than females, which is an indication of marked sexual dimorphism.

How do red-capped mangabeys communicate?

They communicate using facial displays, body posturing, and vocalizations. Red-capped mangabeys have an extremely loud alarm call. They also use an array of facial expressions that are enhanced by exposing the white area above their eyes and using open-mouthed gestures.

Where do red-capped mangabeys live?

Red-capped mangabeys are found in central West Africa (Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon). They are semi-terrestrial and inhabit dense vegetation in inland swamps and gallery forests, as well as in primary and secondary forests at river margins. These forests exhibit a dense, often closed canopy 10 to 13 m high. Mangabeys are excellent jumpers. At Brookfield Zoo, red-capped mangabeys can be found in Tropic World: Africa.

What do red-capped mangabeys eat?

In the wild, they eat mostly fruit, but also leaves, mushrooms, shoots, nuts, grubs, ants, and insects. They forage in the canopy, as well as through ground leaf litter.

What kind of behavior can I see?

Mangabeys live in multimale groups of 14 to 37 individuals and have been observed splitting into subgroups for foraging. They do not form all-male groups, but solitary males have been observed. Brookfield Zoo has an all male group. This species does not engage in any specific associations with other primate species very often. At Brookfield Zoo, they share their exhibit with sooty mangabeys, black-and-white colobus monkeys, and mandrill baboons.

What are the breeding habits of red-capped mangabeys?

Much like baboons, females have sexual swellings that swell and deflate in approximately 30-day cycles. Peak swelling is a visual signal to males that it is optimum time for conception. Gestation is approximately 175 days (5.5–6 months), and twin births are rare.

What is red-capped mangabeys’ status in the wild?

The Conservation Assessment Management Plan (CAMP) for primates has red-capped mangabeys listed as vulnerable. They are hunted widely in all areas because their large size makes them a desirable food source. They are also at risk for losing their habitat (deforestation, loss of fruiting trees) to an increasing human population.

What can I expect to see in the exhibit?

The red-capped mangabeys can usually be found in the trees and on the ground, and they are pretty easy to recognize. You probably won’t be able to tell individuals apart, though. They interact with the sooty mangabeys a lot and use their tails to display to others.

Continue your research!

Yak's Corner is an online magazine for kids that has an archive of "Amazing Animals," including the mangabey.

Also, the Primata Links page at the World of Ethology site is a great collection of sites about all kinds of primates, including mangabeys.

Find a lot more animal and zoo sites on the Links Page!


You can also go back to the animal list.

"Red-capped mangabey" photo by Tim Knight/Wildlife Web
"A mother and baby" photo by Zena Tooze/CERCOPAN