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Animals

Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 02, 2021

Tufted Capuchin: 19 Facts You Won’t Believe

Check out these tufted capuchin facts to know more about this incredible monkey!

The tufted capuchin (Cebus apella) is an extremely intelligent and active primate species found in the tropical and subtropical forests of South America, including the Amazon forest. This monkey may also be called a black-capped capuchin or a brown capuchin. They are one of the most commonly found species of capuchins in their geographical range. The black-capped capuchins are very social as they travel together in groups, and have relatively good communication between them. These groups have a hierarchy and are known for being very well organized. These capuchin monkeys might also let other species into their groups but are generally aggressive towards capuchins of their own genus.

Though there has been destruction of their habitat on some level, the tufted capuchins have been able to sustain their population due to being flexible and adaptable to a number of habitats, and can also thrive in captivity. These animals are considered popular pets all over the world as they can be trained to perform certain tasks to help humans.

To learn interesting facts about other mammals, check out our red-tailed monkey facts and titi monkey fun facts pages.

Tufted Capuchin Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a tufted capuchin?

The brown capuchin is a type of New World primate or monkey.

What class of animal does a tufted capuchin belong to?

The tufted capuchins (Cebus apella) belong to the class Mammalia, family Cebidae, and genus Cebus, although some believe that this species should be placed in the genus Sapajus and thus, called Sapajus apella.

How many tufted capuchins are there in the world?

The exact number of the black-capped capuchins is not known.  

Where does a tufted capuchin live?

The black-capped capuchins have a wide range and are common in the northern Amazon rainforest in Venezuela, Colombia, Paraguay, northern Argentina, Guyanas, and Brazil. They also occur in many protected areas such as national parks and reserves across South America. They can be seen living within the elevation of 660-3,610 ft (200-1,100 ft).

What is a tufted capuchin's habitat?

The tufted capuchins are flexible and adaptable animals and thus, are found in a number of habitats. They have been found living in the low to middle canopies of tropical and subtropical forests, dry forests, montane forests, and gallery forests. They usually climb and leap from tree to tree in a forest, but will come to the ground to forage for food.

Who does a tufted capuchin live with?

These black-capped capuchin monkeys are very social animals and are found in groups of 8-20 monkeys. A group typically consists of a dominant male, several females, their dependent young, and juveniles that are not mature yet. In some cases, a group might also have a few males, but one of them will always be the alpha or dominant male. This male generally protects the group from any harm, as well as leads the attack if another group of the same species invades their home range. The dominant male of the group has a few capuchins from the group which he prefers. These are most likely to include the infant of the group, some of the juveniles, and his favorite females. Whenever food is scarce and food sources are discovered, the dominant male and the monkeys close to him will be the ones who will get to eat first. The other group members will only get to eat after they are finished.

How long does a tufted capuchin live?

For a tufted capuchin, lifespan in captivity is generally is higher at about 45 years, than in the wild, where their lifespan is estimated to be 40 years.

How do they reproduce?

The black-capped capuchins do not have a particular mating season and can give birth all year round. They reproduce by sexual reproduction and their mating system is polygynous, where the dominant male gets the first choice to choose a female out of the group to mate with, while the other males have their opportunity when the dominant male is not around. The gestation period for this species is 150-160 days, after which female capuchins give birth to one infant, or twins, in rare cases. These females give birth only once a year. All of the parenting is done by the females of the group, who also carry their infant on their back while traveling.

What is their conservation status?

The black-capped capuchin has a wide range, within which it is commonly found in groups. They occur in many protected areas and have been able to adapt to different types of habitats. There are no significant threats to their population and thus, they have been listed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List.

Tufted Capuchin Fun Facts

What does a tufted capuchin look like?

The body of a brown capuchin monkey can vary in color from dark brown to a dull yellow. Their shoulders and underbelly are a lighter shade whereas the back is usually brown. The hands, feet, and tails of these monkeys are usually dark brown or black in color. They have a dark bundle or tuft of fur on their heads which looks like a cap, thus giving them their common names of the tufted and black-capped capuchin. Their tail, which they carry in a tight coil, is very strong and acts as a fifth limb because of its ability to grasp onto things like branches while these animals leap in a forest.

The tufted capuchins are named for a dark-colored tuft of fur on their head.

How cute are they?

The brown capuchin monkeys are very cute animals, and their babies are said to be even cuter.

How do they communicate?

Groups of black-capped capuchins (Cebus apella) are extremely good at communicating among themselves. They have a wide variety of calls or vocalizations, each of them is used for different purposes. Some of them are used to alert the others that predators like hawks or eagles are nearby, while other vocalizations may be used to attract members of its group to a food source that one individual found, and some may be used while fighting among themselves or with another group. They have also been reported to use facial expressions to communicate.

How big is a tufted capuchin?

A male black-capped capuchin monkey is generally larger in body size than a female, and the average body length in this species is 13-22 in (32-57 cm), with their tail measuring an additional 15-22 in (38-56 cm).

How fast can a tufted capuchin move?

The speed of a black-capped capuchin is not known. However, the fastest primate, a patas monkey, has been known to reach speeds of 34 mph (56 kph).

How much does a tufted capuchin weigh?

Just like their length, males and females of C. apella differ in their weight, with the males being heavier. The average weight range of the tufted capuchins is 4.2-10.6 lb (1.9-4.8 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female animals of this species do not have special names.

What would you call a baby tufted capuchin?

There are no specific names for a baby brown capuchin (Cebus apella).

What do they eat?

Their diet includes nuts, fruits, insects, young birds or eggs, rodents, lizards, bats, and frogs. The tufted capuchins have been observed using a stone as a hammer and anvil to crack open nuts. This sort of tool use was previously seen only in chimpanzees.

Their population is vulnerable to predators like large birds of prey, jaguars, pumas, and coyotes, of which these capuchins are extremely scared.

Are they dangerous?

No, the tufted capuchins are not usually dangerous to human beings. However, in the wild, there are chances that some capuchins may become aggressive.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, they have been known to make great pets and have also been trained to perform certain tasks to help humans.

Did you know...

The black-capped capuchins greatly contribute to the ecosystem by spreading the seeds of the fruits that they consume. They are also predators to some smaller animals, which makes them important parts of the food chain.

What other names do tufted capuchins have?

The tufted capuchins are commonly referred to as black-capped capuchins and brown capuchins based on some of their physical features.

How intelligent are capuchin monkeys?

Capuchin monkeys are considered to be extremely intelligent as they are one of the very few species that can engage in tool use and use facial expressions to communicate. They have also shown commendable problem-solving skills, and are even thought to have the ability of social learning within their groups. This might be the reason why their population, despite some threats, has been able to adapt to any habitat in the wild.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these woolly monkey facts and langur monkey facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable tufted capuchin coloring pages.

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