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Keywords:

  • Cercocebus;
  • temporal comparison;
  • diet;
  • forest composition;
  • habitat change;
  • fruit phenology

Abstract

We compared the feeding behavior of a group of Tana River mangabeys (Cercocebus galeritus), densities of 25 diet species, and fruit availability of nine species in a 16.25 ha Tana River forest in southeastern Kenya studied in 1988 and in 2000–2001. For both studies, we enumerated all reproductively sized individuals of the 25 diet species and sampled nine of those species monthly for fruit availability. Mangabey feeding data were collected monthly from January to December 1988 and August 2000 to July 2001 using identical methods. We found a 17% increase in stem number of the 25 species between studies. Estimates of fruit production were lower in 2000 for five of the nine species monitored. Species composition of the mangabey diets shifted between 1988 and 2000–2001. We suggest that changes in forest composition may be due to declining human disturbance, elephant loss, changes in the river's hydrologic regime, and the 1997/98 ENSO event. Possible reasons for lower fruit availability are a younger demographic profile of the forest and changes in the river's hydrological regime. Only some of the changes in the mangabey diet mirrored changes in stem abundance and/or fruit availability. Mangabey dietary changes underscore their high degree of flexibility that allows them to persist in such a dynamic forest habitat. Am. J. Primatol. 70:339–348, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.