The King colobus is a native African primate. This species is otherwise called the 'western black-and-white colobus' due to the black overall coloration of its body, contrasting with white colored chest and whiskers. This Old World monkey exhibits a prominent skull and a small rounded projection instead of the thumb. The King colobus displays oval eye-sockets and narrow superciliary ridges. The extensile nasal skin of this animal can extend to its mouth. This primate has complex sacculated stomach, but lacks pouches on its cheeks.
Endemic to Western Africa, these animals are found from Gambia to Côte d'Ivoire. Preferred habitat of King colobuses is lowland and mountain rainforest.
As diurnal animals, King colobuses are active during the day and sleep by night. These primates display highly social behavior, forming small groups of 1 - 3 mature males and 3 - 4 mature females. Males of this species live in dominance hierarchy system and don't tend to socialize. Females, on the other hand, live in very close bonds with each other and practice mutual grooming. Occasionally, various groups of the King colobuses come into conflicts, during which males exhibit some aggressive behavior such as territorial calling, thus displaying their strength and social status. Although males, usually give out these calls to ward off other groups or other males of their group, they may also use this form of communication as alarm calls, warning group members of potential threats.
The King colobuses exhibit both polygynous (one male mates with multiple females) and polygyandrous (individuals of both sexes have multiple mates) reproductive systems. While some populations may breed throughout the year, others have a well-defined mating system, giving birth during the dry season, between December and May. Gestation period lasts for 175 days, after which females give birth to a single infant, usually once every 2 years. The mother is very protective to her baby, suckling, protecting and grooming the young. She will also carry the newborn baby, which cannot walk independently. The age of reproductive maturity is 2 years old.
One of the major threats to the population of this highly endangered species is destruction of its natural habitat for private farming, commercial agriculture as well as selective logging. Additionally, the King colobuses attract hunters for their meat and coat.
The King colobuse used to be widespread, but no estimate of population size is available for this primate. Currently, this species is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List.
Due to feeding upon leaves, fruits and seeds, King colobuses are likely to act as seed dispersers of the plants they consume. Then, these animals are an important prey species for local predators.