Malbrouck monkey (Chlorocebus cynosuros)

Malbrouck monkey
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Malbrouck monkey fact file

Malbrouck monkey description

GenusChlorocebus (1)

This arboreal primate is slim and agile (2), with an olive-brown coat and black-skinned face (4). The underside is white, and there is white fur on the brow and cheeks (4). The most striking feature of the Malbrouck monkey is the colouration of the male, which has a bright blue scrotal area and an eye-catching red penis. The Malbrouck monkey possesses cheek pouches in which food can be stored for later consumption (4).

Male total length: 42 – 60 cm (2)
Female total length: 30 – 49 cm (2)
Male weight: 3.9 - 8.0 kg (2)
Female weight: 3.4 - 5 kg (2)

Malbrouck monkey biology

Little information is available on this species’ behaviour and ecology, but what is known about the Malbrouck monkey is that it lives in groups of multiple males and multiple females (5). Females of this species typically remain in the group in which they were born, but males disperse upon reaching maturity (6), and will emigrate to another group to find a mate; this is a risky time as females have been known to aggressively attack transferring males (7). The Malbrouck monkey uses impressive vocal and visual signals to communicate information between group members (5).

Breeding is seasonal and controlled by the dominant male of the group, who uses aggression to scare off any lower-ranking males that try to mate with the higher-ranking females (6). Females usually give birth to a single offspring. Allomothering is common in the Malbrouck monkey, whereby older females care for their younger siblings, enabling them to practice valuable mothering skills. Other members of the group are also on hand to help with rearing the infants (2).

The varied, omnivorous diet of the Malbrouck monkey includes a variety of leaves, gum, nuts, grasses, fungi, fruit, flowers and invertebrates and, less frequently, bird eggs, lizards and rodents (8).


Malbrouck monkey range

The Malbrouck monkey is native to central Africa. Its range extends from the southern Democratic Republic of the Congo southwards to northern Namibia, and to the west of the Luangwa River in Zambia (1).


Malbrouck monkey habitat

The Malbrouck monkey may be found in a variety of habitats, and is adaptable to rural and, in some cases, urban areas. It is abundant in open woodland, savannah and forest-grassland (1).


Malbrouck monkey status

Listed as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern


Malbrouck monkey threats

Currently, the Malbrouck monkey is not considered at risk of extinction as it has a wide range, much of which has a low human population density, and faces no major threats (1)


Malbrouck monkey conservation

This species is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (3) and is listed as Class B of the African Convention of Nature and Natural Resources, meaning that trade in this species must be controlled to avoid it being killed at a rate it cannot compensate for. This monkey can also be found in several protected areas (1).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

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To find out about primate conservation in Africa see:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

This species information was authored as part of the Arkive and Universities Scheme.


An animal which lives or spends a large amount of time in trees.
Animals with no backbone.
Feeding on both plants and animals.


  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2010)
  2. Cawthorn Lang, K.A. (2006) Primate Factsheets: Vervet (Chlorocebus) Taxonomy, Morphology, & Ecology. University of Wisconsin, Madison. Available at:
  3. CITES (April, 2010)
  4. Rowe, N. (1996) The Pictorial Guide to the Living Primates. Pogonias Press, New York.
  5. Seyfarth, R.M., Cheney, D.L. and Marler, P. (1980) Vervet monkey alarm calls: semantic communication in a free-ranging primate. Animal Behaviour, 28: 1070-1094.
  6. Struhsaker, T.T. (1967) Social structure among vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops). Behaviour, 29: 83-121.
  7. Isbell, L.A. and Enstam, K.L. (2002) Predator (in)sensitive foraging in sympatric female vervets (Cercopithecus aethiops) and patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas): a test of ecological models of group dispersion. In: Miller, L.E. (Ed.) Eat or Be Eaten: Predator Sensitive Foraging Among Primates. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  8. Fedigan, L. and Fedigan, L.M. (1988) Cercopithecus aethiops: a review of field studies. In: Gautier-Hion, A., Bourlière, F., Gautier, J.P. and Kingdon, J. (Eds.) A Primate Radiation: Evolutionary Biology of the African Guenons. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

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Malbrouck monkey  
Malbrouck monkey

© NRowe /

Noel Rowe /


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