The identification of MHC class I ligands for rhesus macaque killer cell Ig-like receptors (KIRs) is fundamental to our basic understanding of KIR and MHC class I coevolution and to the study of NK cell responses in this nonhuman primate model for AIDS and other viral diseases. In this study, we show that Mamu-KIR3DL01, which is expressed by ∼90% of rhesus macaques, recognizes MHC class I molecules with a Bw4 motif. Primary NK cells expressing Mamu-KIR3DL01 were identified by staining with a mAb which, in this study, was shown to bind Mamu-KIR3DL01 allotypes with an aspartic acid at position 233. The cytolytic activity of Mamu-KIR3DL01(+) NK cells was suppressed by cell lines expressing the Bw4 molecules Mamu-B*007:01, -B*041:01, -B*058:02, and -B*065:01. The Bw4 motif was necessary for Mamu-KIR3DL01 recognition because substitutions in this region abrogated Mamu-KIR3DL01(+) NK cell inhibition. However, the presence of a Bw4 motif was not sufficient for recognition because another Bw4 molecule, Mamu-B*017:01, failed to suppress the cytolytic activity of these NK cells. Replacement of three residues in Mamu-B*017:01, predicted to be KIR contacts based on the three-dimensional structure of the human KIR3DL1-HLA-Bw4 complex, with the corresponding residues at these positions for the other Mamu-Bw4 ligands restored Mamu-KIR3DL01(+) NK cell inhibition. These results define the ligand specificity of one of the most polymorphic and commonly expressed KIRs in the rhesus macaque and reveal similarities in Bw4 recognition by Mamu-KIR3DL01 and human KIR3DL1, despite the absence of an orthologous relationship between these two KIRs or conservation of surface residues predicted to interact with MHC class I ligands.