Agile Mangabey (Cercocebus agilis)

The molars of this species are long and the incisors are very large (Fleagle, 1988). The agile mangabey has long limbs and a long tail (Fleagle, 1988).


The agile mangabey primarily feeds on fruits and seeds, but also eats animal prey. This species is arboreal and diurnal.

The agile mangabey moves through the forest in a quadrupedal manner (Fleagle, 1988).

Social grooming does occur, but the receiver usually never reciprocates and mothers only groom juvenile and not infant offspring (Estes, 1991).

loud call: This call is used by the agile mangabey to maintain distances between groups in the dense foliage of the forests.

chuckle: This sound functions as an alarm call in the agile mangabey, and is uttered rapidly in a long series and is a high-frequency call (Estes, 1991).

progression calls: This call consists of nasal grunts that have a short range, and they are emitted by group members to no specific receiver when the group starts to move (Estes, 1991). Usually adult males do not emit these calls, and the calls tend also to communicate who is giving the call because there some individual variation amongst callers (Estes, 1991).

greeting grunts: These grunts are emitted by males when juveniles approach them; it is used to reassure them (Estes, 1991).

genital-sniffing: This is when a male agile mangabey sniffs the female in response to her presenting to him; he is checking whether the female is in estrus or not (Estes, 1991).

staring: This display by the agile mangabey is used as a threat display (Estes, 1991). The eyes are fixed on the stimulus and the eyebrows are raised and the scalp is retracted, the facial skin is also stretched by moving the ears back (Estes, 1991). Underneath the eye lids the color is different which contrasts sharply with the surrounding facial color (Estes, 1991)>

staring with open mouth: This is the stare accompanied by the mouth being open but the teeth are covered (Estes, 1991). This is a threat expression and often occurs with head-bobbing (Estes, 1991).

head-bobbing: This is used as a threat display by the agile mangabey and head bobs up and down (Estes, 1991). This often occurs with staring with open mouth (Estes, 1991).

pouting: This visual display is given by the females and communicates sexual receptivity (Estes, 1991). This is when the lips are protruded forward (Estes, 1991).

social presenting: This is when a nonestrus individual presents the anogenital region to another (Estes, 1991). This display is most often used to appease aggression (Davis, 1964); it is used by a subordinate towards a more dominant individual in the group (Estes, 1991).

mounting: Apart from a sexual context, this is used most often by a dominant individual towards a subordinate, and occurs between members of the same sex (Estes, 1991).

The sooty mangabey gives birth to a single offspring.

Davis, D.E. 1964. The Physiological Analysis of Aggressive Behavior. In Social Behavior and Organisation Among Vertebrates. Ed. W. Etkin. University of Chicago Press.

Estes, R.D. 1991. The Behavior Guide to African Mammals. University of California Press.

Fleagle, J. G. 1988. Primate Adaptation and Evolution. Academic Press.

Last Updated: June 17, 2007.
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