Species of the week

This week you have the opportunity to meet the famous yellow monkey, a common mammal on Mozambican land.

Scientific name: Papio Cynocephalus

Common name: Yellow Monkey, Baboon, Cole (in macua, dialect of northern Mozambique)

Class: Mammalia

Order: Primates

Family: Cercopithecidae

Conservation Status: Little worrisome

Dimensions: Males: 120-160 cm and 32 kg; Females: 100-120cm and 16kg

Longevity: approximately 30 years of life

Diet: Opportunistic Omnivore


Papio cynocephalus is a diurnal, semi-terrestrial primate, it is a social species that lives in groups with many males and several females (Multimale-Multifemale Group) ranging from 18 to 100 individuals. It has a yellow-brownish color throughout the body except for the face, that is black. It’s tail is long and thin and is characterized by a small ‘break’. Males are larger and heavier than females. Papio cynocephalus is an opportunistic omnivore, feeding on a wide variety of plants and animal species. Its behavioral pattern is seasonal and depending on the food availability. Less foraging during rainy seasons.


Although it occurs preferentially in miombo forest, it also occurs in savanna forest and coastal forest, and can easily adapt to fragmented forests, including agricultural areas. This adaptation makes this animal less susceptible to hunting activities, in some of this areas.


Papio cynocephalus is the oldest primate in the world, that only occurs in the African and / or Asian continent. As such, its distribution extends from Somalia, Kenya, northern Tanzania, Mozambique and throughout central-southern Africa to central Angola.


Individuals of this species reproduces at any time of the year, only one individual being born per gestation. They have a gestation period of 180 days (6 months). These animals normally take care of their new-borns, and the juvenile climbs to the mother’s belly during the first weeks, passing to her back some time after until it reaches approximately 1 year of age.


There are no major threats to this species as it easily adapts to fragmented forests and agricultural areas.


Males, besides being larger and heavier than females, have more developed canine teeth, allowing a clear identification of the sex of the animal when analysing their dentition.


Alberts, S. C., Hollister-Smith, J., Mututua, R. S., Sayialel, S. N., Muruthi, P. M., Warutere, J. K. & Altmann, J. 2005. Seasonality and long term change in a savannah environment. In Primate Seasonality: Implications for Human Evolution. Brockman, D. K. & van Schaik, C. P. eds. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 157-196.

Altmann, J., Alberts, S. C., Altmann, S. A. & Roy, S. B. 2002. Dramatic change in local climate patterns in the Amboseli basin. African Journal of Ecology 40:248-251.

Kingdon, J., Butynski, T. M. & De Jong, Y. 2008. Papio cynocephalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T16021A5355778. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T16021A5355778.en. Downloaded on 3 November 2015.