Latest news:

White-faced saki

Scientific name: Pithecia pitheciaWhite-faced saki

Country: Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela

Continent: South America

Diet: Fruits - frugivore, leaves - folivore, flowers, small birds and mammals

Food & feeding: Omnivore

Habitats: Tropical rainforest

Conservation status: Least concern

Relatives: Uakari, black saki

Description: The difference between the sexes is considerable. Adult males are black, with the striking white face. The females are brownish-grey and have only a narrow white stripe on the face between the inner eye and mouth. Colour differences like this between the sexes are termed 'sexual dichromatism'. They have long, shaggy coats and non-prehensile, long bushy tails. Adult males weigh around 2 kg females are slightly smaller at 1.7 kg

Lifestyle: These arboreal (tree-living) monkeys are fast moving and shy, so very little is known about their behaviour in the wild. They move mainly in leaps, and jumps of up to 10m have been recorded. For this reason native people call them 'flying monkeys'. They are active during the daytime (diurnal).

Family & friends: The white-faced sakis live in small family groups, consisting of the parents and two or three offspring. The offspring may help to look after their younger siblings.

Keeping in touch: They usually make bird-like chirping sounds and display aggression by body-shaking, arched posture and loud growl.

Growing up: A single youngster is born after a gestation of about 170 days. The baby clings to the mother for the first couple of weeks, when the male or one of its siblings may also carry it. They are independent by six months, but they usually stay with their family after this period. They live to approx. 14 years of age in the wild, but up to at least 20 years of age in captivity.

Look at how these animals grip branches and you'll see that rather than grab them between their index finger and thumb, as we would, these monkeys and their close relatives grab them between the index finger and middle finger, so they have three fingers on one side and a finger and thumb on the other.

Conservation news: Whilst not an endangered species, sakis and other South American primates are vulnerable due to the destruction of their habitat by humans. They are also hunted for food and for the pet trade.