These unusual monkeys with pointed heads are Black Crested Mangabeys and are native to Zaire, Angola and the African Congo. They live in groups of up to twenty animals and walk around on all fours, eating a variety of fruits and seeds.

As males mature they leave the group, which mostly comprises females and their young, plus one mature male who is father to the children.

They tend to return to the same places to feed and to nest and they are known to have communication skills.

Mangabeys make loud penetrating calls to ensure that they maintain a distance between different groups in dense jungle areas.

Black Crested Mangabeys

They do not appear to be directed at anyone in particular, but seem to mean “come along. We are off”

When approached by a youngster an adult male will make greeting grunts to re-assure the infant that it is friendly.

Mangabeys have quite dramatic reactions to any potential threat, such as the approach of a human. They begin to chuckle, which is actually an alarm call to other group members. They stare, open their mouth and roll back their eyelids to expose a different colour beneath, which makes them look quite menacing. Then they bob their head and make it quite clear that they are agitated.

Mature females tend to purse their lips and pout at any adult males who attract their interest. This signifies their receptivity to courtship.

There are a number of distinct types of Mangabey including Sooty, Black Crested, Agile, Golden Bellied, White Collared, Tana River and Sanje Mangabeys. All are part of the family of monkeys that includes Macaques, Baboons and Mandrills.

These loud calls are supplemented by whooping and gobbling noises which convey specific information about their location and the identity of the caller.

When the group starts to move the members make nasal grunts which travel only a short distance and do not


One of our Black Mangabeys is pictured here at Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary and is called Alf.