Saki (White-faced) / Pithecia pithecia

Did you know...

Known by native people as flying monkeys because of the leaps and jumps of up to 10 metres they make as they move through the forest

They communicate via high-pitched cries and twitters specific to their family group, as is a loud roar used to warn of danger

White-faced sakis are New World monkeys. Males are black with distinctive white faces – see right – while females have grey fur with a hint of white facial markings – see below. These differences are known as sexual dichromatism.

Sakis spend most of their lives in trees, rarely going down to the ground. They have long fingers and long nails to help them grip branches and prefer to move around on solid branches in the middle to lower levels of the forest.

Their diet consists of berries and fruit, seeds and flowers, but they can also eat small mammals such as bats and mice. Their lower front canine teeth are adapted for opening nuts and tough fruits in order to obtain the large nutritious seeds hidden within. This allows them to eat unripe fruit not palatable to most primates!

In the wild they live in pairs or small family groups consisting of parents and two to three offspring. Babies are born after a gestation period of 170 days and the single youngster will cling to the belly of its mother when first born. After wo weeks the male and older siblings may also carry it. Younsters are independent by six months.