DistributionRead full entry
Range DescriptionNorth of the Congo River, this species ranges widely from about the River Sangha in the west to Lake Albert; south of the Congo River, it occurs as far south as the Kasai and Sankuru Rivers. Also occurs in isolated fragments (as P. r. tephrosceles) east of the Albertine Rift, and an isolated form, P. r. rufomitratus, persists on the lower Tana River in Kenya (Gautier-Hion et al. 1999; Struhsaker and Grubb in press). The species ranges from near sea-level to 2,500 m.
In this treatment, the species includes nine subspecies:
P. r. rufomitratus is found only on the levees of the lower Tana River in Kenya. The total known range is 60 km from Kipende in the north to Mitipani in the south, where the Lamu-Garsen road enters the Tana River floodplain. It is restricted to ca. 34 patches of fragmented gallery forest, notably Guru South, Sifa East, Baomo South, Mnazini East, Bubesa West 1, Hewani South 2 forests (Butynski and Mwangi 1994). P. r. rufomitratus is broadly sympatric with Cercocebus galeritus and Cercopithecus mitis albotorquatus, and narrowly sympatric on the forest edges with Papio cynocephalus ibeanus and Cercopithecus pygerythrus (T. Butynski and Y. de Jong pers. comm.).
P. r. tephrosceles is present on the eastern border of the Rift Valley in western Uganda and western Tanzania (Struhsaker and Grubb in press). Five distinct populations are known in western Uganda in Kibale, and in western Tanzania in Biharamulo on the south-western shores of Lake Victoria, Gombe and Mahale Mountains on the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika, and Mbizi and Misheta on the Ufipa Plateau (Rodgers et al. 1984). However, recent surveys in Misheta found little if any forest left of any consequence in the area, and the red colobus population is probably now extinct there (Davenport et al. 2007). A subpopulation subsequently recorded in a forest patch near the village of Nsangu (post the surveys by Rodgers et al.) is probably also now extinct (Davenport et al. 2007). Davenport et al. (2007) reported a new and previously unrecorded population of P. r. tephrosceles in Mbuzi forest. They also surveyed the Chala forest, which was in poor condition; no primates were seen, although it is not known if red colobus ever existed there. This subspecies may be present in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, but its presence has not yet been confirmed.
P. r. foai from Democratic Republic of the Congo between the Rivers Lowa and Osa in the north and about 6°S in the south along the western side of Lake Tanganyika (Struhsaker and Grubb in press).
P. r. oustaleti, occurs in Congo, southern Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and marginally in southern Sudan, from the River Sangha in the west across the Oubangui River east to Lake Albert; the southern border of its range is the Congo River, the eastern limit is the River Aruwimi-Ituri, and in the north its range extends into the savanna woodlands north of the River Uele (Gautier-Hion et al. 1999; Struhsaker and Grubb in press).
P. r. lulindicus is present in Democratic Republic of Congo in lowland forest east of the Lualaba River from the Lowa-Osa River in the north to the Elila River in the south (Struhsaker and Grubb in press).
P. r. langi occurs in pure form in the cul-de-sac between the Lualaba and Aruwimi-ituri Rivers in north-east Democratic Republic of Congo and extends as a variant within the population eastward to the vicinity of Lake Kivu (P. Grubb unpubl.).
P. r. ellioti ranges from Congo-Lualaba River east to the Semliki Valley, and the west shore of Lake Edward and Lake Kivu. The northern limit is the Aruwimi-Ituri River, and the southern limit the Maiko River (Struhsaker and Grubb in press).
P. r. parmentieri in the area between the Lomami and Lualaba Rivers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as far south as the Rivers Ruiki and Lutanga (Colyn and Verheyen 1987; Struhsaker and Grubb in press).
P. r. tholloni is a little-known taxon that occurs in a patchy distribution from south of the great bend of the Congo River, west of the River Lomami, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Southern limits bounded by the Kasai and Sankuru Rivers (Struhsaker and Grubb in press). Except for P. r. parmentieri, this is the only red colobus taxon to occur south of the Congo River.