Scientific Name: Pithecia pithecia
Pale-headed sakis have longer legs than arms, allowing them to leap great distances.
Pale-headed sakis, also called white-faced sakis, are named for the pale faces of the males. All infants regardless of sex are born with female coloration, and the trademark white face does not appear on males until they are two to three months old.
STATUS: Pale-headed sakis are listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
HABITAT: The rainforests of the northern Amazon basin in countries like Guyana, Suriname, Brazil and French Guiana are home to pale-headed sakis. Unlike other sakis that enjoy the upper levels of the forest, pale-headed sakis prefer the middle to lower levels of the canopy.
DIET: Pale-headed sakis eat mostly fruits and seeds. They are also known to eat flowers, leaves, shoots, insects and even bats.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: The white faces of male pale-headed sakis are the basis of their name. Sakis are sexually dichromatic, meaning the males and females are different colors; this is rare in the Cerbidae family. Males are black with the signature white face. Females can be brown, black or a mixture of the two. Unlike the males, they have brown faces with symmetrical white stripes beginning at the eyes and drawn vertically down the face. Pale-headed sakis are 12-19 inches long with coarse and long hair. Their tails add 10-21 inches and are unable to grasp objects. Adults weigh three to five pounds, with the males weighing slightly more than the females.
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Pale-headed sakis are diurnal primates that leap through rainforest during the day and curl up on branches to sleep at night. This species is recognized as one of the greatest leaping monkey species in South America. Pale-headed sakis can jump especially great distances when they are excited—even conquering up to 33-foot gaps. Although springing from their two hind feet is common for sakis, pale-headed sakis additionally walk and climb on all four limbs.
They live in groups with up to 5 members consisting of monogamous parents and their offspring. After a 5-6 month gestation period, a female gives birth to one infant. Most births occur December-April. This infant clings to the mother’s chest for the first few weeks and then rotates to the back. After approximately a year, the infant leaves its parents.