Callosciurus orestesBorneo black-banded squirrel

Geographic Range

Borneo black-banded squirrels (Callosciurus orestes) are found only on the island of Borneo in southeast Asia (Payne and Francis, 1985). (Payne and Francis, 1985)


Borneo black-banded squirrels (Callosciurus orestes) can be found actively using small and intermediate sized trees at middle elevations. Specific cover types the squirrel utilizes include lower montane forests as well as upper dipterocarp forests (Payne and Francis, 1985). (Payne and Francis, 1985)

  • Range elevation
    1000 to 1700 m
    3280.84 to 5577.43 ft

Physical Description

The upper parts of the body in Borneo black-banded squirrels (Callosciurus orestes) are speckled with brown fur. A pale marking can be found behind each ear. The ventral side is mostly grey, with a reddish tinge found in some individuals. A lateral stripe runs along the side of the body and is black and white in color. The tail of the squirrel has a ringed pattern which alternates between light and dark coloring the entire length of the tail (Payne and Francis, 1985). (Payne and Francis, 1985)

  • Average mass
    323.91 g
    11.42 oz
  • Average length
    20.35 cm
    8.01 in


Little information is available on mating systems of Borneo black-banded squirrels. However, tree squirrels in the same genus (Callosciurus) and geographical location are polygynandrous and mate in bouts where visual cues and vocalization is used (Tamura, 1993). (Tamura, 1993)

Little information is available about the mating behavior of Borneo balck-banded squirrels. However, mating behavior of the congeneric Callosciurus nigrovittatus, formerly known as the same species, is present in the literature (Payne and Francis, 1985). These tree squirrels breed year round, but pregnancies in females are noticeably higher in the months of April to June than the rest of the year. The number of offspring females produce from a pregnancy is 2 to 4, with an average litter size of 3 individuals (Moore, 1961). (Moore, 1961; Payne and Francis, 1985)

  • Breeding season
    Year-round breeding with more pregnancies from April to June.
  • Range number of offspring
    2 to 4

Little is known about parental investment in young Borneo black-banded squirrels. (Payne and Francis, 1985)

  • Parental Investment
  • female parental care
  • pre-fertilization
    • provisioning
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female


Little information is available on the lifespan and longevity of Borneo black-banded squirrels. (Payne and Francis, 1985)


There is little information on behavior in Borneo black-banded squirrels in the literature. Species in the genus Callosciurus are social animals and communicate with each other visually and vocally. Tree squirrels in this genus live in trees and on the ground in groups and forage during the day (Tamura and Yong, 1993). (Payne and Francis, 1985; Tamura and Yong, 1993)

Home Range

There is little information know about the home ranges of Borneo black-banded squirrels. Home ranges of Callosciurus and other tree squirrels in tropical forests are possibly influenced by vegetation characteristics and forest structure (Saiful et al., 2001). (Saiful, et al., 2001)

Communication and Perception

Little information is available on communication of Borneo black-banded squirrels. Communication studies have been done on squirrel species of the same genus and geographic range, particularly with their close relative, black-striped squirrels (Callosciurus nigrovittatus). Members of the genus Callosciurus communicate alarm signals to other squirrels when predators are detected. This communication includes vocalizations of repetitious barks, squeaks, and rattles. Visual cues such as foot-stamping and tail-flicking accompanied the vocalizations to warn other squirrels of a predator (Tamura and Yong, 1993). (Payne and Francis, 1985; Tamura and Yong, 1993)

Food Habits

Borneo black-banded squirrels consume a variety of plant and animal forage. Native fruits, as well as black ants, have been found in stomach contents of these squirrels (Payne and Francis, 1985). Although not much information is available on the diet of Borneo black-banded squirrels, closely related species feed on tree seeds and plant materials, along with some insects and fungi (Bertolino and Lurz, 2013). (Bertolino and Lurz, 2013; Payne and Francis, 1985)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects
  • Plant Foods
  • seeds, grains, and nuts
  • fruit
  • flowers
  • Other Foods
  • fungus


Although there is little information available on predators of Borneo black-banded squirrels, there are known predators of a closely related species, black-striped squirrels (Callosciurus nigrovittatus), which inhabit the same geographic region and which were formerly considered the same species. Predators of black-banded squirrels include felids, canids, raptors, and snakes (Tamura and Yong, 1993). (Payne and Francis, 1985; Tamura and Yong, 1993)

Ecosystem Roles

Borneo black-banded squirrels play a major role in the ecosystems they inhabit. Their diet consists of seeds and fruits which allows them to play a role in the dispersal of food plants (Payne and Francis, 1985). These squirrels also serve as prey items for many carnivores in the ecosystem including felids, canids, raptors, and snakes (Tamura and Yong, 1993). (Payne and Francis, 1985; Tamura and Yong, 1993)

  • Ecosystem Impact
  • disperses seeds

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Borneo black-banded squirrels are members of the genus Callosciurus, which consist of tree squirrels, many of which are important to the pet trade (Bertolino and Lurz, 2013). (Bertolino and Lurz, 2013)

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Borneo black-banded squirrels are members of the genus Callosciurus which contains tree squirrels which are important to the pet trade. The use of these squirrels as pets has led to the introduction of some of these species to parts of the world where they are not native. Many of the squirrel species in this genus can readily adapt to new environments and cause ecological problems (Bertolino and Lurz, 2013). Callosciurus orestes, although still endemic to the island of Borneo, has the potential to be introduced to other parts of the world and cause ecological, and in turn, economic problems for humans. (Bertolino and Lurz, 2013)

Conservation Status

Borneo black-banded squirrels (Callosciurus orestes) are a species of least concern according to its status on the IUCN Red List.


Reuben Frey (author), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Christopher Yahnke (editor), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.



uses sound to communicate


having coloration that serves a protective function for the animal, usually used to refer to animals with colors that warn predators of their toxicity. For example: animals with bright red or yellow coloration are often toxic or distasteful.


Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

  1. active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.

animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

female parental care

parental care is carried out by females


union of egg and spermatozoan


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


an animal that mainly eats all kinds of things, including plants and animals


found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map

pet trade

the business of buying and selling animals for people to keep in their homes as pets.


the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.


rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


associates with others of its species; forms social groups.


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.


uses sight to communicate


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.

year-round breeding

breeding takes place throughout the year


Bertolino, S., P. Lurz. 2013. Callosciurus squirrels: worldwide introductions, ecological impacts and recommendations to prevent the establishment of new invasive populations. Mammal Review, 43/1: 22-33. Accessed April 30, 2014 at

Duckworth, J., B. Lee, R. Tizard. 2014. "Callosciurus orestes" (On-line). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Accessed April 30, 2014 at

Moore, J. 1961. Geographic variation in some reproductive characteristics of diurnal squirrels.. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 122/1: 1-32. Accessed May 01, 2014 at

Payne, J., C. Francis. 1985. A Field Guide to the Mammals of Borneo. Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia: The Sabah Society.

Saiful, A., A. Idris, Y. Rashid, N. Tamura, F. Hayashi. 2001. Home Range Size of Sympatric Squirrel Species Inhabiting a Lowand Dipterocarp Forest in Malaysia. Biotropica, 33/2: 346-351. Accessed May 01, 2014 at

Tamura, N. 1993. Role of Sound Communication in Mating of Malaysian Callosciurus (Sciuridae). Journal of Mammology, 74/2: 468-476. Accessed May 01, 2014 at

Tamura, N., H. Yong. 1993. Vocalizations in Response to Predators in Three Species of Malaysian Callosciurus (Sciuridae). Journal of Mammology, 74/3: 703-714. Accessed May 01, 2014 at