For primate lovers, a face to face encounter with the owl faced monkeys is incredibly the most thrilling primate experience that you shouldn’t miss out while on safari in Uganda, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The owl faced monkeys are also called the Hamlyn’s monkeys and mainly thrive around the north western side of Uganda and Rwanda due to availability of Rivers and Lakes, volcanoes and rainforests. The main habitats for these fascinating primates are the dense tropical rainforests which stand at altitude between 900 and 4554 meters approximately 2950 to 15000 feet. The notable areas for you to explore most of these dramatic creatures include Kibale Forest National Park in western Uganda via the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo-from River Epulu to Lukuga and then from the Congo River to the Volcanoes National Park, northwestern Rwanda. They live in the same area with the rare L’Hoests monkeys which are scientifically called the C. Lhoesti and usually move on the ground despite being active at night.
Owl faced monkeys are scientifically known as the Cercopithecus hamlyni and they are unique hence less is known about them. They show sexual dimorphism with the adult males weighing from 7 to 10 kilograms whereas the weight of females ranges from 4.5 to 6 kilograms. The common traits for both primates are the bare blue buttocks though mature males can be recognized using their bright red and blue genitals. They also feature scent glands around their chests that they use to mark their boundaries. Owl faced monkey gestation period ranges from 5 to 6 months and one offspring is born with cute pink faces which darken as they grow old and twins are rarely born however, the breeding period ranges from May-October. Like most primates, the owl faced monkeys mainly depend on fruits and thrive within small groups or packs consisting of 10 members or less with one dominant male and several females though there is still no data which indicates that they are monogamous groups.
The owl faced monkeys feature dark grey color with white stripes which stretch from the base of the noses to the upper lip hence providing them that owl like appearance and hence the name owl faced monkeys. The Hamlyn’s monkey name and scientific epithet hamlyni are believed to have been derived from the animal dealer who first gathered these species to the London zoo. They feature dark coat shades on their underbellies, arms and hind limbs where their fur is absolutely black which makes it hard for predators to detect them. The newly born are cute pink faced and have yellow brown coats which after, change into black slowly and darkening as they become mature. They feature the most remarkable pair of feet and hands with long fingers and toe bones that allows them get firm grip and usually vital for moving in the wet bamboo branches. In captivity, these fascinating primates live up to 33 years and just like other species, they move daily while looking for food.