Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

The diet of olive baboons (Papio anubis) in the Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda

Okecha, Adam A. and Newton-Fisher, Nicholas E. (2006) The diet of olive baboons (Papio anubis) in the Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda. In: Newton-Fisher, Nicholas E. and Notman, Hugh and Paterson, James D. and Reynolds, Vernon, eds. Primates of Western Uganda. Springer, New York, pp. 61-73. ISBN 0387323422; 0387335056(e). (KAR id:27817)


Baboons (genus Papio) are large-bodied, semi-terrestrial monkeys that occupy a diversity of habitats. Across populations, they show wide variation in dietary composition and in their foraging behaviour. Early studies concluded that baboons were generalist feeders, but it is now clear that baboons selectively exploit their environment. The baboon foraging adaptation, in general terms, may be to selectively exploit a wide array of plant foods to satisfy energetic and nutritional needs when faced with a shifting mosaic of possibilities.The variation in diet between baboon populations has been used to investigate the influence of ecology on both diet and foraging behavior, but few such quantitative data have been published for forest- dwelling baboons. Savannah and forest habitats present different ecological conditions and resources to foraging baboons: Tropical forests typically show less dramatic seasonality in comparison with savannah habitats, and so forest-living baboons should experience a wider and potentially more consistent resource base, which may influence both dietary composition and feeding time.

Such data will also be useful for interspecific comparisons. Forest- living baboons may be significant competitors with sympatric chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) despite contrasts in foraging strategies. While baboons follow a selective–generalist strategy, chimpanzees typically show a reliance on ripe fruit. Baboons may have the advantage in scramble competition where the two species target fruit of the same plant species, as they are better able to digest unripe fruit. There are few data available to test whether such competition occurs. Here, as a preliminary step in investigating potential feeding competition and to broaden the knowledge of baboon foraging strategies, we describe the diet of forest-living olive baboons (Papio anubis) from the Sonso region of the Budongo Forest Reserve, where they live sympatrically with chimpanzees (P. t. schweinfurthii). The diet of these chimpanzees has been well studied, but comparable data for baboons have not been collected.

Item Type: Book section
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH541 Ecology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Nicholas Newton-Fisher
Date Deposited: 26 May 2011 15:44 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:06 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Newton-Fisher, Nicholas E..

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.