Animal Info - Black Uakari

(Other Names: Acarai-Bico, Bicó, Black-backed Uakari, Black-headed Uakari, Cacajao, Caruiri, Cauiri, Charú, Charurikaya, Charuruka, Charutika, Cháu, Chucuto, Chucuzo, Colimocho, Ëh, Fide, Golden-headed Uakari, Humboldt's Black-headed Uacari, Ichaca, Ichacha, Karrubirri, Mico Colimocho, Nüestiama, Nüestiamini, Ouacari Tête Noire, Piconturu, Pitiontouro, Puoghu, Schwarzkopf Uacari, Uacari de Costas Douradas, Uacarí-Preto)

Cacajao melanocephalus


Contents

1. Profile (Picture)
2. Tidbits
3. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries Where Currently Found, Distribution, Threats and Reasons for Decline)
4. Data on Biology and Ecology (Weight, Habitat, Birth Season, Birth Rate, Diet, Behavior, Social Organization, Density and Range, )
5. References


Profile

Pictures: Black Uakari #1 (13 Kb JPEG); Black Uakari #2 (35 Kb JPEG)

The black uakari weighs a little less than 3 kg (6.6 lb) and has a head and body length less than 0.5 m (1.6'). There are two subspecies of black uakari. The golden-backed subspecies (Cacajao melanocephalus ouakari) is richly colored with a saddle and back of golden-yellow that contrasts with its darker chestnut-red sides and underparts. Its arms are dark-brown or blackish as are the lower parts of its legs from the knee down. The flanks are chestnut red, this extending to the short tail as well. The black-backed subspecies (C. m. melanocephalus) has none of the golden-yellow on its back, being primarily blackish from the head to the mid-back and reddish brown or tawny at mid-back, not contrasting with the lower back or thighs. 

The black uakari seems to prefer habitat along small to medium-sized black water streams and lakes, including black water seasonally flooded forests (igapo) and the inland unflooded ("terra firme") forests adjoining such igapo. The majority of its diet is made up of immature seeds. It also eats fruit pulp, leaves and arthropods. The black uakari is arboreal and diurnal. It forages at all levels from the surface of the water in a flooded forest up to the canopy and also descends to the ground to consume seedlings. Groups consist of multiple adult males and females, juveniles, and infants. Large groups of more than 100 black uakaris, some perhaps approaching 200 animals, have been seen. But these large groups result from the temporary fusion of several smaller groups. More long-lasting groups consist of 20 - 70 animals. Black uakaris are very social. Members of a group groom each other frequently. Males are very tolerant of infants, which they carefully guard from danger. 

The black uakari occurs in the upper Amazon Basin north of the Amazon River in southeastern Colombia, southern Venezuela, and adjacent Brazil. In some areas, such as parts of Colombia, hunting is a threat.


Tidbits

*** Uakaris are the only monkeys in the Western Hemisphere with a very short tail, less than 1/3 of the head and body length. This is unusual for an arboreal animal.

*** When black uakaris are feeding over the flooded forest, if they feed long enough in one spot they attract many fish, which gather to take advantage of the fruits and seeds dropped by the monkeys. These concentrations of fish then attract Amazon River dolphins which feed on the fish. (Defler 2004)


Status and Trends

IUCN Status

  • 1960's: Endangered
  • 1970's - 1980's: Vulnerable
  • 1994: Endangered
  • 1996: Lower Risk: Least Concern
  • 2003 - 2004: Not Listed

Countries Where the Black Uakari Is Currently Found:

2004: Occurs in Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela (Defler 2004).

Distribution:

The black uakari occurs in the upper Amazon Basin north of the Amazon River in southeastern Colombia, southern Venezuela, and adjacent Brazil. More specifically, its range in Venezuela includes the upper Rio Orinoco - Rio Casiquiare basin; in Colombia, from the Rio Guaviare south to the Rio Apaporis in the Departments of Guainia, Guaviare and Vaupes; and in Brazil, the Rio Negro-upper Rio Solimoes basin from the north bank of the Rio Japura-Solimoes west to the Rio Araca-Negro. (Hershkovitz 1987, Emmons & Feer 1997) 

Distribution Map #1 (18 Kb) (InfoNatura)
Distribution Map #2
(261 Kb JPEG) (Inst. Ciên. Biol.)

Threats and Reasons for Decline:

In some areas, such as parts of Colombia, hunting is a threat.


Data on Biology and Ecology

Weight:

The black uakari weighs about 2.5 - 3 kg (5.5 - 6.6 lb) with the male weighing slightly more than the female. The head and body length is 0.3 - 0.5 m (1.0 - 1.6') with an average for females of 0.39 m (1.28') (n = 21) and for males of 0.41 m (1.34') (n = 17). The short tail varies around 0.15 m (0.49') for females and 0.17 m (0.56') for males. (Defler 2004)

Habitat:

The black uakari seems to prefer habitat along small to medium-sized black water streams and lakes, including black water seasonally flooded forests (igapo) and the inland unflooded ("terra firme") forests adjoining such igapo. They have a patchy distribution in mature lowland rainforest. (Emmons & Feer 1997, Defler 2004) 

Birth Season:

There is a birth season around March - April on the lower Apaporis River of Colombia, with some births apparently occurring outside of this season (Defler 2004).

Birth Rate:

Female black uakaris apparently give birth about once every 2 years. One infant is born. (Defler 2004) 

Diet:

The black uakari is a specialized seed predator. The majority of its diet is made up of immature seeds, which the animal extracts with its sharp canines, opening up a fruit and splitting the seed using its incisors. It supplements its diet with fruit pulp, leaves and arthropods. One study estimated a diet of 91 % fruit (with the majority being consumed for their seeds), 3 % leafy material (young leaves, mature leaves, bromeliads), 4 % flowers and 2 % insects. (Defler 2004) 

The black uakari often licks rain-soaked leaves and descends trunks and branches over flooded forest to drink water directly from the water’s surface. It also drinks water from tree holes and bromeliads, dipping its hand into the water and drinking from its hand and fur. (Defler 2004) 

Behavior:

The black uakari is arboreal and diurnal. It forages at all levels from the surface of the water in a flooded forest upwards to the canopy and also descends to the ground to consume seedlings. 

The distance traveled in one day averages 2.3 - 3 km (1.4 - 1.9 mi) (range: 0.05 - 5 km (0.031 - 3.1 mi)) 

In one study in Brazil, it was estimated that the daily activity pattern of the black uakari included 22 % rest, 27 % travel, 20 % feeding and 31 % foraging

The black uakari is predominantly quadrupedal - walking, running and leaping with great frequency. Its leaps across gaps between branches are spectacular and cat-like and some cover vertical spaces of 5 - 10 m (16 - 33') and horizontal space of up to 5 m (16'). 

The black uakari has been seen to sleep in exposed positions over the flooded forest, sometimes only 10 - 15 m (33 - 49‘) over the water on a sturdy branch. In unflooded areas it sleeps much higher up and less exposed at 25 - 30 m (82 - 98') above the ground. 

(Defler 2004) 

Social Organization:

Large groups of more than 100 black uakaris, some perhaps approaching 200 animals, have been seen. But these large groups result from the temporary fusion of several smaller groups. More long-lasting groups consist of 20 - 70 animals. When food is very scarce, these groups have even been seen to fission into small subgroups, and occasionally only 1 or 2 are seen moving separately from a larger group. Groups consist of multiple adult males and females, juveniles, and infants. (Defler 2004) 

Black uakaris are very social. Members of a group groom each other frequently. Males are very tolerant of infants, which they carefully guard from danger. Any pair of young animals playing together has an adult male sitting nearby, on guard in case of any threat. (Defler 2004)

Density and Range:

Density

Estimates of population density for the black uakari vary depending on conditions. During certain times of the year when groups concentrate their activities in the flooded forest, this species seems common in those locations and population density is high; e.g. 12 individuals/sq km (31 individuals/sq mi). The density of a group calculated over its home range may reach 7 individuals/sq km (18 individuals/sq mi). Finally, when calculated over a wide area of the region in which it is found, the density of the black uakari is low - less than 1 individual/sq km (2.6 individuals/sq mi). (Defler 2004)

Range

Black uakari groups consisting of 20 - 70 animals have home ranges of 500 - 1000 hectares (1250 - 2500 acres)  (Defler 2004).

References

Animalzoom, Barnett & Celeste da Cunha 1991, Burton & Pearson 1987, Defler 2004, Emmons & Feer 1997, Hershkovitz 1987, InfoNatura, Inst. Ciên. Biol., IUCN 1967, IUCN 1994, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, Nowak & Paradiso 1983, Nowak 1999


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Last modified: September 9, 2006;

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