28 COMMON Monkeys in South America! (2024)

What kinds of monkeys live in South America?

If you find yourself visiting South America, it’s only natural that you will ask yourself the above question. I mean, who doesn’t want to see monkeys!?

Luckily, there are quite a few species you should be able to find. So, keep reading to learn how to identify each primate and learn some fun and interesting facts. Pictures and range maps are also included!

28 monkeys that live in South America:


#1. Brown Weeper Capuchin

  • Cebus brunneus

Also known as the Venezuelan Brown Capuchin.

Credit (left image): Naomivaldez15, (right image): Naomivaldez15, via Wikimedia Commons

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are about 42 cm (16.5 in) long, with a tail length of 44 cm (17.3 in).
  • They have brown fur on their bodies. Their faces are bare, framed with light-colored hair.
  • Look for a patch of dark hair at the top of their heads.

These monkeys in South America are endemic to semi-deciduous forests. Interestingly, Brown Weeper Capuchins help keep forests healthy by pollinating flowers as they feed on nectar. Undigested seeds from the fruits they eat also grow into fruit-bearing trees.

Brown Weeper Capuchins are tree-dwellers. Using their long slender limbs, they travel across branches with remarkable agility. These highly social monkeys groom each other to maintain relationships and eliminate parasites. Look for them in the trees, where they groom and play in large groups.

Like other monkeys, this species can be extremely curious. For example, they occasionally approach people and pets when human settlements overlap with their habitats. However, you should avoid them as much as you can. As wild animals, they can be unpredictable and dangerous if agitated.

 


#2. Pale Titi

  • Plecturocebus pallescens

Also known as the White-coated Titi.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are about 36 cm (14 in) long, with furry tails that reach 42 cm (17 in).
  • They have large ears and bald faces.
  • Pale blonde and light gray fur cover their entire bodies.

These monkeys in South America enjoy both humid and dry habitats.

They feed on leaves, fruits, and flowers in forested areas. As territorial animals, they will yell at animal trespassers and chase them away. You might spot them leaping across branches with impressive skill.

A family of Pale Titis can have 2-7 members, though it is more common to find an adult pair with a single offspring. The father acts as the primary caretaker for infants. Each Pale Titi couple mates for life, and they show signs of distress if separated from each other. Look for bonded pairs sitting on branches and entwining their tails together.

Around humans, these primates have surprisingly calm dispositions. In fact, you might find it easy to approach Pale Titis! Unfortunately, this means their species are frequently captured and kept as pets.

 


#3. Ursine Howler Monkey

  • Alouatta arctoidea

Also known as the Ursine Red Howler and  Caracas Howler.

Credit (left image): Edoardo Pietro, (right image): Luis Zabala, via Wikimedia Commons

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 45-65 cm (18-26 in) long, and their tails are 55-68 cm (22-27 in).
  • Thick beards surround their hairless faces.
  • They have dark or reddish brown coats, though their tails are lighter at the ends.

Ursine Howler Monkeys in South America inhabit open woodlands. Interestingly, these monkeys consume leaves infested with insects to get their protein. They also eat fruits, nuts, flowers, eggs, and even birds when given a chance! As you might have guessed from their common name, their renowned howls can pierce through thick forests.

Bonded mates often reside within a larger group of Ursine Howler Monkeys. Males from rival groups engage in howling competitions to defend their territories and resources. In addition, females have their own contests to prevent other females from joining their groups.

Ursine Howler Monkeys are not usually aggressive, but these primates are short-tempered in captivity. As a result, they are best suited to natural habitats. In the wild, you can see them using their prehensile tails to support their weight as they travel through the high canopies.

 


#4. Black-faced Spider Monkey

  • Ateles chamek

Also known as the Chamek Spider Monkey and Peruvian Spider Monkey.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are about 70 cm (28 in) in length, with tails that reach 100 cm (39 in).
  • Their bodies, foreheads, and cheeks are covered with thick, black hair.

Black-faced Spider Monkeys in South America live among the canopy of lowland forests, though you might also find them in drier hills. Their favorite food is fruit, but they also eat leaves, insects, and small animals such as frogs and baby birds.

Equipped with prehensile tails and vestigial thumbs, Black-faced Spider Monkeys can expertly swing from branch to branch. Rivers can’t stop them, either! They are strong swimmers, crossing waterways to access other parts of the forest. A family consists of up to 30 individuals. Listen for their grunts and howls as they stay in touch with each other.

Sadly, Black-faced Spider Monkeys are endangered due to habitat destruction and infrequent reproduction. This fascinating primate has had its population decline by 50% in the last 45 years.

 


#5. Black Capuchin

  • Sapajus nigritus

Also known as the Black-horned Capuchin.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 32-55 cm (13-22 in) long with tails that are 35-50 cm (14-20 in) long.
  • A mix of black and dark brown fur covers their bodies. Their cheeks are paler in comparison.
  • You’ll notice the patches of black hair on the top of their heads forming horn-like shapes.

If you find yourself in the rainforest of South America, look for Black Capuchins.

This monkey sometimes forages on the ground but usually stays close to the canopy. As an omnivore, it feeds on fruits, nuts, bugs, and bird eggs. 

An alpha male leads and protects a pack of 6-20 Black Capuchins. The size of the pack depends heavily on the abundance of food in an area. When food is limited, the monkeys split into smaller troops. Listen carefully for a high-pitched scream, signaling members of the group to gather. Take note of how diverse the facial expressions of Black Capuchins are! They’re very expressive, and their looks are reminiscent of humans.

Black Capuchins groom each other to bond, focusing on body parts their partners can’t reach alone. They can be aggressive as a species. Occasionally, males kill rivals’ children to protect their position as the alpha. Meanwhile, females compete with younger capuchins for control over food sources.

 


#6. Black-mantled Tamarin

  • Saguinus nigricollis

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults only reach 23 cm (9 in) long, with tails up to 36 cm (14 in) in length.
  • They have mostly black hair, which is reddish brown towards the mid-back.
  • Their ears are large and bare. Pale fur covers their muzzles.

A group of Black-mantled Tamarins can contain up to a dozen individuals who warn each other of predators. Some groups might even include tamarins of a different species! At night, you’ll see them roosting together in the tangle of vines in South America’s Amazon rainforest.

The mating and reproduction rituals of this species are truly remarkable. In three out of four pregnancies, Black-mantled Tamarins give birth to twins. Only the dominant female of a group can mate, doing so with several males. Similarly to a nurse at a human birth, the father washes the newborn tamarin before giving it back to the mother. Other group members may also help care for the young.

While juvenile Black-mantled Tamarins are usually playful, they soon outgrow this behavior to learn survival skills in the wild. However, specimens in captivity tend to keep their playful nature. Visit a zoo to watch this monkey at play!

 


#7. Brown Howler Monkey

  • Alouatta guariba

Also known as the Brown Howler.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 45-56 cm (18-22 in) long, and their tails are 51-60 cm (20-24 in) long.
  • They have auburn fur, with swaths of black on their arms and beards.
  • They have hairless, black faces and large jaws.

Brown Howler Monkeys in South America feed on fruits, flowers, and leaves.

A typical group consists of one male and up to ten females. They’re likely announcing their territories to rival groups nearby if you hear their bark-like howls.

Brown Howler Monkeys have an effective strategy to evade birds of prey. Once an individual spots a circling eagle, it will immediately alert the rest of the group to fall silent. Then, they climb down into the understory, with adult howlers leading young ones. 

Brown Howler Monkeys spend most of their days resting. You might think they’re lazy, but they actually do this to conserve energy before hunting again. Unfortunately, they are especially vulnerable to yellow fever, a virus spread by mosquitoes. Mass deaths often indicate an outbreak of this disease, which is worsened because of their proximity to one another. 

 


#8. Chestnut Weeper Capuchin

  • Cebus castaneus

Also known as the Chestnut Capuchin.

Credit: Christophe Chauvin Janekvorik, via Wikimedia Commons

Identifying Characteristics:

  • These capuchins are 55 cm (22 in) long. Their tails are roughly the same length.
  • You’ll see a dark patch of hair on their heads.
  • They have chestnut brown coats that grow lighter on the underside.

Chestnut Weeper Capuchins eat fruits, shoots, and occasionally invertebrates like insects. Nuts can be tough to open, but this species has a perfect strategy. They cleverly hammer them open with rocks.

These monkeys in South America often share resources with other species.

Curiously, however, they have a long-standing rivalry with howler monkeys and remain territorial. Groups of up to 30 individuals, about half of which are juveniles, reside in the rainforest. Adult males act as defenders, while females are responsible for raising infants. 

 

As key agents of seed dispersal, Chestnut Weeper Capuchins help their forest habitats flourish. In fact, some seeds sprout better after passing through the digestive systems of these monkeys. They also help spread pollen across flowers by feeding on nectar.

 


#9. Humboldt’s Squirrel Monkey

  • Saimiri cassiquiarensis

Also known as the Colombian Squirrel Monkey.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults grow 25-37 cm (10-15 in), and their tails are 36-45 cm (14-18 in) long.
  • They are gray-haired with black-tipped tails. Their arms and backs have a yellow tinge.
  • The crowns of their heads, as well as their muzzles, are dark in contrast.

They may be small, but this species has strength in numbers! Humboldt’s Squirrel Monkeys in South America gather in groups of 20-50 high up in the trees. Forming large packs gives them protection against predators and rival monkeys. So if you enter their domain, don’t be surprised to hear a wide range of vocalizations and alarm calls. 

Using their long tails for balance, Humboldt’s Squirrel Monkeys leap great distances from one branch to another. Their nails help them cling to tree trunks. Additionally, they can run quickly on all fours as they search for food. Fruits are their favorite, but they also eat leaves, shoots, and insects.

Tropical rainforests can get really hot. Fortunately, Humboldt’s Squirrel Monkeys have a strange but clever way to dodge the heat: urinating on their hands! As their excess body heat evaporates the urine, the process helps them cool down.

 


#10. Long-haired Spider Monkey

  • Ateles hybridus

Also known as the Variegated Spider Monkey or Brown Spider Monkey.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are approximately 50 cm (20 in) long and have 75 cm (30 in) long tails.
  • They have bare, black faces. Look for a patch of white hair on the top of their heads.
  • Their body hair ranges from dark to light brown, though their bellies are white.

This species is one of the most endangered monkeys in South America. 

Long-haired Spider Monkeys have suffered devastating habitat loss from agricultural expansion. As a result, dwindling populations spend their time traveling in small troops, swinging across the canopy. Their excellent eyesight helps them spot food as well as lurking predators.

While they mostly eat fruits, Long-haired Spider Monkeys feed on leaves, honey, and insects, especially during the dry season. To reduce travel, they sleep on trees close to their feeding grounds. You might be surprised to know that these monkeys sometimes eat soil! The dirt is a source of important minerals that the monkeys need to stay healthy.

Habitat loss isn’t the only reason these primates are endangered. Females of this species only produce offspring every 3-4 years because babies need a lot of care before they can live on their own. A newly-born Long-haired Spider Monkey will cling to its mother’s belly for a few months before relocating to her back. After that, it will stay with her for about 18 months until it learns the skills to survive independently.

 


#11. Northern Bearded Saki Monkey

  • Chiropotes sagulatus

Also known as the Guianan Bearded Saki.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 33-46 cm (13-18 in) long, and their tails grow 39-46 cm (15-18 in).
  • You’ll notice two black “buns” of fur at the top of their heads. They also have thick black beards.
  • They are dark-haired on the body with orange-brown fur on the back.

Northern Bearded Saki Monkeys in South America inhabit rainforests and savannas.

Their typical diet includes seeds, fruits, and flowers. Their jaws and teeth are also strong and adapted to cracking open hard nuts.

A group of this species consists of 25-55 male and female members. When foraging, they split into smaller troops and then reunite after they’ve had their fill. Relative to other primates, Northern Bearded Saki Monkeys are less social, though they still engage in grooming behavior. In addition, unlike most monkey species, they don’t operate with an obvious leader directing the group.

 


#12. Spix’s White-fronted Capuchin

  • Cebus unicolor

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Their bodies are typically 37 cm (15 in) long, with 42-46 cm (17-18 in) tails.
  • The crowns of their heads are darker than the rest of their fur.
  • Their bodies are pale-colored, but their limbs, backs, and tails are brown or yellowish.

These monkeys in South America thrive in the Amazon River basin.

Despite seasonal flooding and wet weather, Spix’s White-fronted Capuchins can forage entire forests for food, even coming down to search the leaf litter for bugs. Groups include up to 35 individuals, with a dominant male acting as the leader.

When these monkeys sense danger, you’ll hear them barking softly to warn other troop members. Watch your head! Spix’s White-fronted Capuchins will drop branches above a predator’s head to scare it away. If an individual spots a bird of prey, it will let out a loud screech and instruct the rest to descend to the undergrowth silently.

Like some humans, Spix’s White-fronted Capuchins are especially fond of newborns! So when a baby capuchin is introduced to the group, members will examine it for as long as they have permission from its mother.

 


#13. Toppin’s Titi

  • Plecturocebus toppini

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 25-45 cm (10-18 in) long.
  • They have reddish fur coats. Compared to other Titis, their tails are less fuzzy.
  • A thick mane borders their bare black faces.

These monkeys jump from branch to branch as they chase away intruders trying to steal their fruits. Toppin’s Titis reside close to freshwater sources within the forests of South America. They’re active when the sun is out, but you might find a pair dozing off in the middle of the day. When they sleep, they wrap their tails together in a spiral!

It takes two years for a juvenile Toppin’s Titi to transition into adulthood. Then, after a few more years, it will leave its original group and join a new one. These primates form lifelong relationships with their mate, reproducing throughout their lives as their offspring matures.

During seasons of drought, they climb down to the ground level to forage. Despite being venomous, army ants are their favorite prey! To avoid being bitten, Toppin’s Titis quickly swallow smaller groups of ants. Sometimes, these agile monkeys hang down from branches just above a mound as they “fish” out their prey.

 


#14. White-bellied Spider Monkey

  • Ateles belzebuth

Also known as the White-fronted Spider Monkey and Long-haired Spider Monkey.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults can reach a body length of 34-59 cm (13-23 in). Their tails are 65-90 cm (26-35 in) long.
  • As their name implies, they have white-colored bellies.
  • Black and brown hair covers their bodies. In addition, some specimens have a pale patch of hair on their foreheads.

White-bellied Spider Monkeys in South America live in groups of 20-50.

These groups are divided into smaller troops of up to nine for feeding. They occupy wide territories, nesting in trees throughout the rainforest. Feeding mostly on fruits, these primates are effective agents of seed dispersal.

Look at a White-bellied Spider Monkey navigating trees, and you’ll see how it got its name! These agile creatures climb and cling to trees in a spider-like way. But did you know that the tail of this monkey acts as a fifth limb? The bare tip of its tail can grasp branches. It’s also strong enough to support the animal’s entire body weight! 

 Keep away from their territories! Males on patrol may see you as a threat and attempt to attack. They use their large canine teeth to inflict deep wounds. Ouch!

 


#15. Azara’s Night Monkey

  • Aotus azarae

Also known as the Southern Night Monkey.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults grow 24-37 cm (9-15 in) long, with tails of similar length.
  • They have notably large, reddish eyes with small pupils.
  • The white patches of fur surrounding their chins and eyes look like a mask.
  • They are grayish-brown all over, though the hairs on their bellies are yellow-orange.

The Azara’s Night Monkey feeds on fruits, flowers, and insects. As a nocturnal species, it enjoys less competition from other animals when it forages for food in the dark. You’ll find this monkey in South America most active during full moon nights, leaping across tree branches in forests.

Azara’s Night Monkeys are monogamous. Once a pair bonds, they usually stay together for the rest of their lives. A typical family unit has 3-4 members: an adult couple plus a child or two. Newborns cling to their mothers at first but will spend more time with their fathers after three weeks. During the daytime, these monkeys sleep in groups inside the hollows of trees.

Interestingly, these primates play an important role in the field of medicine. For example, researchers have studied Azara’s Night Monkeys populations to understand how infectious diseases such as malaria are passed between individuals.

 


#16. Black-striped Capuchin

  • Sapajus libidinosus

Also known as the Bearded Capuchin.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are about 37 cm (15 in) long and have thick tails that can grow to the same length.
  • The hair on the crown of their heads is black. Sideburns frame their hairless faces.
  • They have distinctive golden fur, though their limbs and tails are darker.

Native to South America, Black-striped Capuchins thrive in savannahs and dry forests. They travel great distances each day in search of food. Their varied diets include nuts, insects, and fruits. Unlike most monkeys that stay high up on trees, these capuchins spend more time foraging on the ground.

It might surprise you to know how evolved and intelligent Black-striped Capuchins are! They use tools in their day-to-day life, especially for hunting food. For example, they crack open hard-shelled nuts with rocks and use sticks to dig for roots and tubers. These monkeys also make loud sounds by banging large stones together to scare away predators.

Females pursue males when they’re ready to mate by throwing sticks and stones at them. Males ignore these at first but eventually seek out the behavior. It’s a bit like teenagers teasing those they like. 🙂 Unlike most primates, Black-striped Capuchins sometimes adopt infants that have lost their mothers.

 


#17. Common Squirrel Monkey

  • Saimiri sciureus

Also known as the South American Squirrel Monkey and Guianan Squirrel Monkey.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are only 25-37 cm (10-15 in) long. Their black-tipped tails are 36-47 cm (14-19 in) in length.
  • They have black muzzles and white, fuzzy ears. White fur encircles their eyes.
  • Their coats are mostly gray, though their limbs and backs have a yellow tint.

Vast populations of Common Squirrel Monkeys live in the rainforests of South America.

They gather in groups of up to 300 members! They frequently mingle with other monkeys, such as capuchins and sakis. Capuchins give off alarm calls that warn squirrel monkeys of nearby predators.

As omnivores, Common Squirrel Monkeys eat fruits, seeds, lizards, and spiders. During mating season, males gain weight and become more aggressive. They don’t assist in child care, which leaves all the parental duties to females. As a species, they’re usually peaceful. When two groups cross paths, they tend to ignore each other instead of engaging in fights.

The exotic pet community has a long history of trading Common Squirrel Monkeys. However, you should avoid participating in this trade. These monkeys have high social needs, which can only be satisfied by socializing with their kind in the wilderness.

 


#18. Common Woolly Monkey

  • Lagothrix lagothricha

Also known as the Brown Woolly Monkey or Humboldt’s Woolly Monkey.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 40-60 cm (16-24 in) in length, with thick 55-75 cm (22-30 in) tails.
  • Their faces are black and hairless.
  • Their coats are shades of black, gray, and brown. Their heads and undersides are darker in contrast.

You can find Common Woolly Monkeys in South America up in the canopy of the Amazon rainforest. Some travel in pairs, while others gather in groups with as many as 70 members. Impressively, they cover up to 2 km (1.2 mi) per day foraging for food. During flood season, these monkeys enter submerged areas to look for berries.

Common Woolly Monkeys love to eat fruits that are rich in sugar. During periods of scarcity, they settle for leaves, insects, and spiders. New mothers eat protein-rich leaves to boost their milk production. Competition for fruits is high within their communities, so younger monkeys have to rely more on a diet of insects.

Female Common Woolly Monkeys don’t normally interact with other females. They’re incredibly possessive! They will readily harass other females that try to approach their partners. Other than that, they are generally a peaceful species, willing to share food sources with their neighbors.

 


#19. Golden-handed Tamarin

  • Saguinus midas

Also known as the Red-handed Tamarin or Midas Tamari.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Their bodies measure 21-28 cm (8-11 in) long, while their tails are 31-44 cm (12-17 in).
  • They have black faces and big ears.
  • True to their name, the fur on their hands and feet is notably golden.
  • The rest of their bodies are covered by black or dark brown hair. Some specimens have speckled backs.

Don’t get into a scuffle with Golden-handed Tamarins! Aggressively territorial, they make up for their small size with sharp teeth and claws. These monkeys are fantastic at climbing vines and running across branches. Even wide gaps between trees can’t stop them! They regularly leap distances over 18 meters (59 feet) wide!

A pack of Golden-handed Tamarins consists of 4-15 individuals. Despite their aggressive nature, they rarely fight among themselves. Instead, they’re highly cooperative as a group. If you threaten one of them, other pack members will come rushing to its aid.

In each breeding season, only a single female gives birth, typically to two offspring. The father is the primary caretaker, though all members of the pack contribute to raising the babies. For Golden-headed Tamarins, it truly takes a village to raise babies!

 


#20. Guiana Spider Monkey

  • Ateles paniscus

Also known as the Black Spider Monkey, Red-faced Spider Monkey, or Red-faced Black Spider Monkey.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are about 56 cm (22 in) in length, with long, prehensile tails.
  • Their faces are reddish pink and hairless.
  • They have long, thick black hair covering their bodies.

These long-haired monkeys live in the northern rainforests of South America, far away from human civilization. In daylight, Guiana Spider Monkeys travel and search for food. When night falls, they gather in bands of 20-30 members. A group usually includes several females and their offspring, with a handful of males that act as guards.

Look at the canopy to see Guiana Spider Monkeys swinging from branch to branch. Their lengthy limbs and prehensile tails make them adept at scaling tall trees. They prefer feasting on fruits, but they also eat grubs, termites, and fungi.

Guiana Spider Monkeys sometimes appear to be fighting, but they might be trying to woo each other! Courtship rituals begin with members of the group wrestling, accompanied by growls and deep pants. Once a female has chosen her partner, she will sit on his lap to signal interest.

 


#21. Weeper Capuchin

  • Cebus olivaceus

Also known as the Guianan Weeper Capuchin or Wedge-capped Capuchin.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are about 55 cm (22 in) long. Their tails are roughly the same length.
  • Look for a triangular patch of dark fur on the crown of their heads.
  • Their coats are shades of brown, though their faces are framed by blonde fur.

Weeper Capuchins inhabit isolated rainforests in South America.

These primates leap and climb through the canopy with great expertise using their long limbs. They have a balanced diet of fruits, nuts, berries, and insects. Populations along the coast also eat crabs and oysters.

An average group of Weeper Capuchins has 5-30 members: an adult male and several females with children. Grooming is an important activity that strengthens their bonds and hygiene. Baby capuchins are exclusively cared for by their mothers in the first three months. Then, other female adults share this duty in the months that follow.

Weeper Capuchins are quite civilized creatures! Sometimes, they wash their food before eating, ridding it of dirt and sand. Interestingly, to avoid mosquito bites in the rainy season, Weeper Capuchins rub millipedes over their fur as a form of bug repellant.

 


#22. Azara’s Capuchin

  • Sapajus cay

Also known as the Hooded Capuchin.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Their bodies are about 37 cm (15 in) long. They also have thick tails reaching a length of 43 cm (17 in).
  • You’ll notice the two tufts of fur on their heads pointing upward.
  • Their body fur is a mix of different shades of brown. Their limbs and tail tips are darker in contrast.

Azara’s Capuchins are well-adapted to the humidity of South America’s tropical forests. Sadly, these primates are constantly threatened by encroaching farmlands and urban developments. They are also frequently captured to be kept as pets.

 If you see an Azara’s Capuchin on the ground, it’s most likely male. This is because they spend time foraging there, while females prefer staying in the canopy. These monkeys commonly feed on fruits and seeds, but they also have a taste for various insects. Cleverly, these monkeys break open hard-shelled fruits by hitting them against tree branches.

Keep an eye out for the alpha male if you spot a group of Azara’s Capuchins! It is the largest member of its community, with a fierce temperament to boot. The alpha male acts as the protector of up to 44 other individuals.

 


#23. Black-tailed Marmoset

  • Mico melanurus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults have a body length of 18-28 cm (7-11 in). They have long, black tails.
  • They have large, rounded ears and hairless faces.
  • Their fur coats are light brown, growing darker towards the back.

Black-tailed Marmosets gather in family units of up to six in South America. They don’t like sharing their territories and will chase away other primates that intrude on their sections of the forest. They run along branches or cling onto trunks with their long claws. At night, they retreat into the hollows of trees to rest.

Black-tailed Marmosets may not welcome outsiders, but they’re generous with family. Adults love spending time with their offspring to share food. They mostly eat tree sap, though they’ll also consume fruits and insects. Listen for chirps! This is how they tell their kin that they’ve found food.

Female Black-tailed Marmosets normally give birth to twins. Adorably, all members of the group work together to raise the young. The father often carries his babies around, giving them to the mother when it’s nursing time.

 


#24. Colombian Red Howler Monkey

  • Alouatta seniculus

Also known as the Venezuelan Red Howler.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults grow 46-72 cm (18-28 in) long. Their tails can measure 49-75 cm (19-30 in) in length.
  • They have wide jaws and hairless faces.
  • Reddish-brown hair covers their bodies, though their tails are bare towards the tip.

The Colombian Red Howler Monkey is an arboreal primate that lives among the canopies of South American rainforests. Its prehensile tail can grasp branches, supporting the howler as it moves between trees. This monkey’s main diet is leaves supplemented by fruits and flowers.

At dawn, you might hear a chorus of Colombian Red Howler Monkeys howling and roaring in unison. Their racket can be heard from up to 5 kilometers (3.10 miles) away! These performances help establish territories among groups, thereby preventing unnecessary fights. 

Colombian Red Howler Monkeys form groups of ten on average. A male leads and defends several females and their offspring. When a howler gives birth, childless females assist the mother in caring for her baby.

 


#25. Guianan Red Howler Monkey

  • Alouatta macconnelli

Also known as the Guyanan Red Howler.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 48-63 cm (19-25 in) in length, with 52-80 cm (20-31 in) tails.
  • Hair is absent on their black faces. They also have large jaws.
  • They have a reddish brown coat that grows darker on the limbs. Their backs are tinged yellow.

Guianan Red Howler Monkeys in South America prefer rainforests and swamps.

However, you might have difficulty finding them because they stay hidden among the tallest treetops. They’re equipped with prehensile tails to support them as they navigate through the branches.

These primates have sedentary lifestyles, with most days spent resting to conserve energy. Their teeth are primarily designed for chewing fibrous leaves. Other times, they enjoy ripe fruits and flowers. As a result, Guianan Red Howler Monkeys unintentionally scatter seeds after digesting them, making their species vital to maintaining a healthy forest.

A Guianan Red Howler Monkeys group has two to eight members, typically composed of a male howler leading several females and juveniles. They can roar deeply with their large voice boxes. Listen for their howling sessions at daybreak!

 


#26. White-faced Saki

  • Pithecia pithecia

Also known as the Guianan Saki or Golden-faced Saki.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults can grow 32-40 cm (13-16 in) long. Their tails are similar in length.
  • They have skinny fingers and bushy tails.
  • Males have long, black fur and stark white faces.
  • Females have short, grayish-brown fur and non-distinct faces.

These peculiar-looking primates reside in the lower canopies of South America’s rainforests. White-faced Sakis are most active during the early hours of the day, searching for fruits, nuts, and insects. Sometimes, they will invade tree hollows to prey on roosting bats.

White-faced Sakis take refuge under trees with thick foliage to keep warm and dry. These trees also conceal them from hawks and harpy eagles. If an individual spots a predator, it will alarm the others, who will then quickly echo the call for other nearby sakis.

As a monogamous species, White-faced Sakis bond for life. A typical family unit consists of a pair of sakis and their offspring. They easily swing across tree branches but are much more proficient jumpers. A White-faced Saki can cover a distance of 10 meters (32 feet) with a single leap!

 


#27. Black-and-gold Howler Monkey

  • Alouatta caraya

Also known as the Paraguayan Howler or Black Howler.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are about 50-65 cm (20-26 in) long, with tails that can reach 76 cm (30 in).
  • They have large ears and thick beards.
  • Males are larger and have black coats of hair, while females have blonde coats.

A male Black-and-gold Howler Monkey leads a group of multiple females and their juvenile offspring. These monkeys thrive in a wide range of environments, with big populations living near human settlements. Sadly, hunting and rapid urbanization constantly threaten this monkey in South America.

Black-and-gold Howler Monkeys have specialized digestive systems for leaves, fruits, tree bark, and flowers. Because leaves don’t supply many calories, these monkeys spend up to 70% of their time resting to conserve energy. Sometimes, they climb down to watering holes to drink, but their diet covers most of their fluid requirements.

Just before the sun comes up, you might hear Black-and-gold Howler Monkeys howling in unison to mark their feeding grounds. This practice prevents disputes between rivaling troops. Individuals may also claim trees by smearing branches with their dung. Nasty, but effective!

 


#28. Brown Capuchin

  • Sapajus apella

Also known as the Tufted Capuchin, Black-capped Capuchin, or Pin Monkey.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 32-57 cm (13-22 in) long. Their tails are 38-56 cm (15-22 in) long.
  • Look for a wig-like tuft of black hair on their heads.
  • They have brownish-gray body fur, but their limbs, tails, and heads are darker in contrast.

To see Brown Capuchins in action, you’ll have to visit the Amazon River basin in South America. These monkeys thrive in both moist and dry forests, forming packs of 8-15 members. A dominant male acts as the leader and protector of the pack. If a pack member finds an abundant food source, it will whistle to let others know its location.

Brown Capuchins are impressively resourceful! After leaving palm nuts to dry for a week, these monkeys will bash them open with large rocks. Additionally, they use sticks to dig ants out of their mounds. Occasionally, they crush and rub these ants on their fur to repel ticks and mosquitoes. They also use big leaves to hold water for drinking.

Brown Capuchins are equipped with prehensile tails, but curiously, they don’t use them much. These tails help control their descent from heights, but they are more comfortable moving with their hands and feet.

 


For more information about animals in South America, check out these guides:

 

 


Which of these monkeys in South America is your favorite?

 

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