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Titis Sakis and Uakaris: Pitheciidae

White-faced Saki (pithecia Pithecia):species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The white-faced saki weighs 1.8 to 5.5 pounds (0.8 to 2.5 kilograms). It measures 13.2 to 13.8 inches (33.5 to 35 centimeters), with a tail length of 13.5 to 17.5 inches (34.3 to 44.5 centimeters). The coarse fur is long, thick, and shaggy, making the animal seem larger. The saki is named for its white facial coloration, sometimes tinged with red, which is typical only of males. Females have black or brownish fur, with a pale stripe running down from under the eyes to each side of the face. This marked color difference is unusual in primates. Long nape hair flows forward like a hood. The black nose is very wide, and the nostrils are flat. The long, bushy tail is non-prehensile, or incapable of grasping. It is used for balance when traveling through the forest.

The white-faced saki is named for the white facial coloration of the males. Males show the white coloration at two months old. (Norman Owen Tomalin/Bruce Coleman Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Geographic range: White-faced sakis are found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, and Suriname.

Habitat: White-faced sakis inhabit savanna forests where grassland and forest meet, as well as mountain forests. They live in palm swamps and forests along rivers, although they do not like flooded areas. They prefer the middle and lower levels of the forest canopy but will forage at the tangled vegetation below.

Diet: White-faced sakis feed mainly on seeds, fruits, flowers, shoots, and leaves. They occasionally eat birds, termites, and other insects. They sometimes catch mice and bats, which they skin and tear to pieces before eating.

Behavior and reproduction: White-faced sakis are active during the day, sleeping at night curled up on branches. They are agile climbers, traveling and climbing on all fours. They are known as the flying monkeys because of their ability to jump downward through forest gaps of up to 33 feet (10 meters). Sakis also travel upright on their hind feet. They show aggression by arching their back, erecting their fur, and shaking their body. Sakis communicate using loud calls, chirps, and high-pitched whistling.

Sakis live in small groups of up to five individuals, typically the parents and their young. Larger groups may get together at abundant food sources. Females give birth to a single infant from December to April. All infants are born with female colorations. Males acquire their striking facial coloration at two months. The mother alone rears the young, who leave home at age one.

White-faced sakis and people: White-faced sakis are hunted for food and collected for the pet trade.

Conservation status: The white-faced saki is not considered a threatened species. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsTitis Sakis and Uakaris: Pitheciidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Pitheciids And People, Conservation Status, White-faced Saki (pithecia Pithecia):species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET