Interactions between overlapping multimale groups of black and white colobus monkeys (Colobus guereza) in the Kakamega Forest, Kenya

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18 Scopus citations


Sixteen out of 18 groups of black and white colobus monkeys, or guerezas (Colobus guereza), observed in the Kakamega Forest, Kenya, included more than one adult male. Each group overlapped in its home range with 4-7 other groups, and no group appeared to have exclusive access to any part of its home range. Groups were engaged in intergroup encounters one-quarter of observation time. Encounters often occurred around preferred feeding sites as different groups were attracted to such sites in their overlapping home ranges. Wins and losses during encounters were not dependent on location and a null model suggested that groups were not increasing their encounter rate to defend boundaries, further demonstrating a lack of territoriality. Although guerezas have repeatedly been described as a territorial species living in one-male groups, nonterritorial multimale groups are common in continuous forests. Territorial one-male groups may be usual in narrow riparian forests where resources are limiting, groups are small, and defendability is high, but such organization cannot be regarded as typical of the species. Habitat affects group size, as well as the potential for territoriality, and group size determines the number of adult males per group; therefore, classifying groups as one-male or multimale appears to be an artificial dichotomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-209
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Black and white colobus
  • Colobus guereza
  • Home-range overlap
  • Intergroup encounters
  • Multimale groups
  • Territoriality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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