Saki (White-faced)

Pithecia pithecia

IUCN Red List status: Least Concern

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Least Concern


Where they live

South America in Venezuela, the Guyanas, Surinam and Brazil


Tropical rainforests


length 30-50cm, tail length 25-45cm


Average 2kg males, 1.7kg females


Up to 14 years in the wild. 20 years in the Zoo


Sakis, like most S. American Primates, are under threat from habitat destruction. They are also hunted for the pet trade and for food

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

More about white-faced sakis...

White-faced sakis are New World monkeys. Males are black with distinctive white faces while females have grey fur with a hint of white facial markings. 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. Youngsters are independent by six months.

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