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White-faced saki monkey

Pithecia pithecia

Unlike many South American primates, the male and female are very different. The males are black with a white face; the females are a dull brown with two white stripes on the face.

Interesting fact: They are known in Guyana as "jumping jacks" as they are often seen jumping on both back legs.

Find out more...


Habitat & threats

Moist lowland forests and swamp forests of the mid delta of the Amazon basin, where they live in the lower canopy. The species is currently considered stable but as with all species dependant on rain forests there is growing pressure from continued logging activities. The White-faced saki is also hunted specifically for their tails which are prized as dusters.



This saki eats many seeds and hard shelled nuts as well as fruits. Their diet also includes some small animal prey including termites. Seeds account for about 60% of their diet compared to insects that only account for about 2%.


Breeding and social dynamics

They live in family groups and are often found in areas with other species of saki monkey. A pair often mates for life with grooming playing a significant part of the bonding process. Gestation is about 170 days resulting in a single youngster. The male offspring start to show their white faces at around two months.



Part of a managed European breeding programme.