Uganda Primates: Grey-cheeked Mangabey

Johnston’s mangabey

Scientific name; Lophocebus albigena

The Grey-cheeked Mangabey is an Old World monkey with few distinguishing features and baboon-like mannerisms found in the forests of Central Africa. They range from Cameroon down to Gabon and across in western Uganda.

How to identify a Grey-cheeked Mangabey

The Grey-cheeked Mangabey is a dark monkey, looking in shape overall like a small, hairy baboon. Its thick brown fur is almost black in its forest home, with a slightly rufus/golden mane around the neck. The sexes are similar, with the males slightly larger than the females.

Johnston’s mangabey

Where to find the Grey-cheeked Mangabey

The Grey-cheeked Mangabey lives in a variety of habitats within the forests of Central Africa, it is generally thought to live in either swamp or primary forests, in some areas it has also been found in secondary forest as well.

Some authors in the past have considered the species to be restricted to the forest canopy, however more recently habituated troops have been observed on the forest floor collecting food.

The race found in Uganda is known as the Johnston’s mangabey (C.a.johnstoni) and is most likely to be seen in the Kibaale forest and Semiliki National Park.

What the Grey-cheeked Mangabey Eats

They feed primarily on fruit, particularly figs of the genus Ficus, taking other fruits seasonally, as well as shoots, flowers and insects.

Johnston’s mangabey


The Grey-cheeked Mangabey live in groups of between 5 to 30 individuals. The groups have either a single male or (more usually) several, without a single dominant male. Young males leave the troop once they are adult and join other troops, whereas the females stay in the troop of their birth.

If troops become too large they may split. Confrontations between troops are rare, as this mangabey will usually avoid other troops. Their territories cover several square miles of forest, and can both overlap with other troops and shift over time.