The mustached monkey (Cercopithecus cephus) is a common Old World primate found in Africa, from Cameroon in the north to Angola in the south. Individuals form groups ranging in size from four to over 30, usually consisting of a single male, several females, and their young. As these small primates are hunted by large birds of prey, they can often be found in large mixed-species groups for protection while foraging. Largely native to tropical rain forests, their diet consists primarily of fruit but also includes seeds, leaves, and insects.

As their name suggests, mustached monkeys have a patch of bright white fur under their nose that gives the appearance of wearing a mustache. Combined with its blue face and lighter cheek fur, these primates have a colorful, distinctive appearance. Scientists have described several subspecies of mustache monkey, which may have additional color variations, with red, brown, or gray tails.

For now, mustached monkeys appear to have large, healthy populations and can be found commonly throughout their range. In the future, deforestation and hunting pressures may result in population declines. Some protections are already in place to prevent declines in number, as the export and hunting of the mustached monkey is heavily regulated.

  1. How large are groups of moustached monkeys, and who makes up the group?

    • Answer

      Moustached monkeys can be found in groups of 4−30, which usually consist of a single male, several females, and their young.

  2. What types of predators attack moustached monkeys, and how do they protect themselves?

    • Answer

      Moustached monkeys are preyed upon by large birds of prey. They defend themselves by associating in large multispecies groups while foraging.

  3. What human activities might cause problems for moustached monkeys in the future, and what protections are already in place?

    • Answer

      Moustached monkeys are potentially at risk from deforestation and hunting, but protections against their export and limits on hunting are already enforced to help limit population declines.

bird of prey

carnivorous birds that feed mainly on meat. Also called a raptor.


destruction or removal of forests and their undergrowth.


good or service traded to another area.


to search for food or other needs.

Old World

the Eastern Hemisphere, especially Europe, Asia, and Africa.


type of mammal, including humans, apes, and monkeys.


(subsp.) group of organisms within a single species, often distinguished by geographic isolation.