Vocal behaviour offers a window into understanding the social life and evolution of animals. Colobine monkeys show great interspecific and interpopulation variation in their social organization and behaviour. Recent research has shown that Rwenzori Angolan colobus (Colobus angolensis ruwenzorii) differ substantially from other black-and-white colobus in forming a multi-level society. No previous research has been conducted on the communication of C. a. ruwenzorii, but the social complexity hypothesis for communication suggests that more complex societies should evolve more complex communication repertoires. Our objective was to catalogue the vocal repertoire of C. a. ruwenzorii at Nabugabo, Uganda, and to compare it with the data available on congeners regarding intergroup tolerance, vocal repertoire size, and acoustic and behavioural features of vocal communication. Vocalizations were subject to spectrographic and behavioural analysis, and a descriptive analysis of each vocalization type was made. The influence of a few environmental and social factors on calling rates was also examined. We describe five vocalizations (i.e., the snort, roar, squeak, scream and pok) and one non-vocal signal (i.e., the tongue click) in this subspecies and their contexts. Distinct alarm calls are made for dogs, and these are given more often near the edge of the forest where humans frequent. We did not find that C. a. ruwenzorii showed a greater vocal repertoire than C. guereza or C. polykomos, which do not live in multi-level societies. Further, preliminary data do not indicate greater calling rates in larger core units of C. a. ruwenzorii compared to smaller units. These findings support the view that these primates’ vocalizations tend to be relatively conserved despite large differences in social organization.
Male Colobus vellerosus compete intensely for access to females, which sometimes leads to mortal wounding. Yet, males often form cooperative relationships to overtake prime-aged males and immigrate into bisexual groups. We investigated the factors that predicted the presence of coalitions and affiliative relationships among males in this species. Interactions among males in 292 dyads from six groups were examined from 2004 to 2010 at Boabeng-Fiema, Ghana. Affiliation rates among males were higher and aggression rates lower when one or both males in the dyad were subadult, compared to adult male dyads. Affiliation rates tended to be higher among males that were kin but no other aspect of male relationships predicted affiliation. Coalitions among males were rarely observed and primarily occurred in the context of joint defense against extra-group males (93.5% of events). Adult males were more likely to provide coalitionary support than subadults and coalitions occurred significantly more often when both males were high ranking, since these males probably benefited most in terms of reproductive success from excluding extra-group males. Rank-changing and leveling coalitions among low-ranking males appear to be quite rare or absent in C. vellerosus. The costs of these types of coalitions may be too high or male group size too small on average for these types of coalitions to have been selected for. The overall low rates of affiliation and coalitions among male C. vellerosus are likely influenced by male-biased dispersal and the high level of male–male competition.