Saturday, 25 October 2014

SATURDAY CRITTERS - Blue Monkey (Cercopithecus mitis) at the Tea Plantation

I saw these Blue Monkeys while I was driving round the Satemwa Tea  and Coffee Plantation (SEE MONDAYSPOST).  These are not great shots but it was the best I could do as they were all moving so fast in the trees.  Despite its name, the Blue Monkey is not noticeably blue: it has little hair on its face, and this does sometimes give a blue appearance, but it never has the vivid blue appearance of a mandrill.


They are mainly olive or grey apart from the face (which is dark with a pale or yellowish patch on the forehead - the "diadem" from which the species derives its common name), the blackish cap, feet and front legs, and the mantle, which is brown, olive or grey depending on the subspecies. Typical sizes are from 50 to 65 cm in length (not including the tail, which is almost as long as the rest of the animal), with females weighing a little over 4 kg and males up to 8 kg.


The Blue Monkey is found in evergreen forests and montane bamboo forests, and lives largely in the forest canopy, coming to the ground infrequently. It is very dependent on humid, shady areas with plenty of water. It eats mainly fruit and leaves, but will take some slower-moving invertebrates. It prefers to live in tall trees which provide both food and shelter, and is therefore, like almost all guenons, suffering from the loss of its natural habitat. Where pine plantations replace natural forest, the monkey may be treated as a threat by foresters, since it sometimes strips the bark from exotic trees in a search for food or moisture. It is also hunted for bushmeat.



The blue monkeys live in female-philopatric social systems where females stay in their natal groups while males disperse once they reach adulthood.  As a result, blue monkey groups usually consist of one male with several females and infants, giving rise to matrilinear societies.  Occasionally, solitary males are observed which are probably transient, having left their natal group in search of a new group.  



In these female-bonded societies, only 5–15% of monkeys' activity budget is occupied by social interactions and the most common social interactions within a group are grooming and play.   Relationships between group members vary: infants interact most frequently with their peers and adult or juvenile females and are rarely seen near adult males.



Alloparenting is common among blue monkeys.  The most common infant handlers are juvenile females and usually one infant is carried by a number of alloparents.  One hypothesis is that this allows the infant to learn to socialise at an early stage in life.



The mating system is polygynous, and there is a corresponding sexual dimorphism in size, with the males substantially the larger sex.  Females normally give birth every two years, during the onset of the warm, rainy season; gestation is around five months, and the infants are born with fur and with their eyes open.  Group sizes range from 10 to 40, containing only a single adult male.

I have a short video which can be accessed at 

http://youtu.be/cmiQdfSROdU 

If there is a black space below, click it and the video will appear.



I had never seen these monkeys before and I would have loved to spend more time watching them.  I hope you enjoyed this post.


I am linking this post with SATURDAY CRITTERS.

Thanks you for visiting.

Many thanks for all your kind comments. 

30 comments:

  1. a cute one. I think your shots area great, That is how we see them. :)

    Mine is here welcome: http://nftravel.blogspot.se/2014/10/140910-queensland-more-of-atherton.html

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  2. Thats a very long tail! What a cracking sight.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  3. You did well to get so many clear photos.

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  4. Hello Margaret, cool sighting of the Blue Monkeys! I like that long tail. The video is great..Thank you for linking up, have a happy weekend!

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  5. Oh, Margaret, how I long for Kenya now. We used to see these Blue Monkeys and Black-and-white Colobus Monkeys in the tall trees along the mountain pass on our way to a shopping trip in Eldoret. Your photos are perfect and the descriptions so comprehensive, I learned several extra facts about these primates. Have a great weekend. Jo

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  6. Lovely views Margaret of an interesting creature.

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  7. How lucky you are to have seen these monkeys! I bet they rarely sit still!

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  8. I think they are really great shots of the blue monkeys, if you had been there longer you probably could have trained them to sit, stay like with the crazy poodle!!! Even doing this my photos are not a patch on yours :)
    Wren x

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  9. they're really quite beautiful!

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  10. Oh my how sweet they are! Great captures too.

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  11. Wonderful photos and fascinating to learn about this little monkey. Thank you for letting me know about the incorrect link. I will change it shortly.

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  12. They are beautiful!!! :) Have a nice weekend!

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  13. A new animal for me ( even virtually). And they are beautiful! Thank you for all the information ... You are such a good teacher! What a wonderful spot this was. I can imagine you hated toter yourself away!

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  14. Such an interesting monkey! It would be wonderful to see them in the trees. I was happy to read about them and get more information.

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  15. they are pretty and have such long tails. sad they are hunted for meat.

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  16. Beautiful critters! Interesting to learn more about them. Have a great weekend!

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  17. Superb shots. Never seen this before.

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  18. Monkeys! My grandfather used to have a monkey for a pet actually. Her name was "Michelle." Your post reminds me that I need to find a picture that we have of her with him. He was sleeping and she was picking at his eyebrows. :p

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  19. Beautiful photography of nature's critter ~!

    Happy Weekend to you!
    artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

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  20. Don't apologise for the pictures Margaret. They are just fine in showing us the monkeys.

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  21. Interesting! Thank you for all your detailed information, and I think the photographs are great too! I don't actually think I've ever seen this species photographed before...

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  22. They are such beautiful creatures. I can see why they'd be called Blue......really unique and interesting. Hope you had some of their coffee while on the trek:)

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  23. Amazing nature, so interesting info about these critters!! Have a pleasant week!

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  24. Such fascinating appearance this monkey has, and how much fun to see one of these out in a natural setting. I think you did a great job capturing this. Also enjoyed the information about it

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  25. You did a great job capturing these treetop dwellers. What a fascinating society thy have,

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  26. He must have been entertaining to watch! I like his blue color.

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  27. I enjoyed your pictures and words about these special creatures..I have never even seen photographs of them before.

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