White-faced saki monkey

Latin Name
Pithecia pithecia




These small monkeys (weighing about three pounds) are sexually dimorphic. Males have black fur that surrounds their buff-furred faces. Females are lighter, with bright strips of hair from eyes to chins. Their thick tails are non-prehensile, meaning that they don't grip like the tails of, say, howler monkeys. Both sexes have flat, wide noses.



White-faced saki monkeys inhabit Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela.


While not endangered, the white-faced saki monkey is considered vulnerable. They are hunted for food, captured for the pet trade and suffer from habitat destruction. Lincoln Park Zoo participates in the White-Faced Saki Species Survival Plan®, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.


This species inhabits tropical rain forests. They rarely come to the ground.


While they are primarily frugivores (fruit eaters), white-faced saki monkeys will eat flowers, birds, bats and small mammals. These diurnal monkey are shy by nature and extremely quick, leaping between branches in a manner that has earned them the nickname "flying monkeys." Small families of parents and offspring are most common. They stay in touch with chirping sounds.

Life History

Single offspring are most common. Newborns stay with the mother for a few weeks, before the father or siblings begin to pitch in. By six months, saki monkeys are independent.

Special Adaptations

While bird-like chirps are the most common form of communication, aggression is displayed by body-shaking, arched posture and loud growls.

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ARKive video - Golden saki - overviewARKive image - Infant golden-faced saki on female's backARKive video - Golden-faced sakis moving through forest

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Lincoln Park Zoo Exhibit