[I’m away for a couple weeks, and I have been sitting on more posts about my recent Kenya trip, so I thought this might be good time to use one.]
In Nairobi National Park we were watching a Pygmy Kingfisher by a wooded stream, and then I glanced over my shoulder and saw a wide-eyed , ermine-ruffed, grizzled, bluish-grey monkey just watching us.
He stayed on top of the same bush, whose leaves he clearly enjoyed, for several minutes:
Behind him there was a rustling in the undergrowth, and eventually another one appeared on a high branch, implausibly long tail in full view
The guide told me I was very lucky, because they are very shy and he rarely sees them. The first one did not know it was supposed to be shy, and went on munching:
I was rather confused when he told me they were blue monkeys, Cercopithecus mitis, because I saw blue monkeys in Western Kenya, near Kakamega, a few years ago, and they looked quite different, with a black cap, less white on their ears, and a big white monobrow, but no white neck ruff:
It turns out there are several sub-species of blue monkey. The ones in Kakamega are Diademmed Monkeys Cercopithecus mitis stuhlmanni . The ones in Nairobi National Park used to be considered another sub-species, but are now usually given their own species Cercopithecus albogularis. Their common name is Sykes’ Monkey or White-throated Monkey.
So, not blue monkeys after all. They appeared out of the blue, and indeed are now usually considered out of the blue! But they are still beautiful.