Brown Capuchin Monkeys

About the Brown Capuchin Monkey

A hike through the Peruvian rainforest is an essential part of any Amazonian adventure. Guests who stay at the Rainforest expedition lodges in Tambopata, Peru have the opportunity to go on several hikes with trained guides always on the lookout for rainforest wildlife and interesting plants. Not every walk turns up sightings of monkeys but every time you head out into the jungle, you know that you are going to see something exciting Although monkeys aren’t running through the treetops on every single hike through the Tambopata Rainforest, most guests see at least a few of these jungle primates over the course of their stay. One of the monkey species encountered on a regular basis is the Brown Capuchin (Cebus apella).

Brown capuchin monkeys are medium in size, groups of a dozen or so individuals move through the upper understory and sub canopy of the rainforest in search of food. In the forests of Tambopata, they seem to have a preference for palms. When you come across them during your Peruvian rainforest adventure, don’t be surprised if you become fascinated by the human-like features on their faces as they inspect and probe the nooks and crannies of bamboo groves, bunches of palm nuts, and bromeliads.

Brown capuchin monkey foraging in the rainforest

Some interesting facts about the Brown Capuchin Monkey:

  • Found in the central and southwestern Amazon: This small to medium-sized monkey occurs in rainforests throughout much of the Amazon basin and is fairly common around the Rainforest Expedition lodges at Tambopata.
  • Also occurs with the White-fronted Capuchin: Another paler species of capuchin is also found at Tambopata but is much rarer than the Brown Capuchin. This species, the White-fronted Capuchin, is noticeable paler and tends to replace the Brown Capuchin at slightly higher elevations.
  • They often forage with Squirrel Monkeys: The Brown Capuchin and smaller Squirrel Monkey are frequently found together in the Tambopata rainforests. While large numbers of Squirrel Monkeys scamper through the trees in their search for insect prey, smaller numbers of Brown Capuchins carry out more methodical searches for food in the jungle vegetation.
  • Brown Capuchins are omnivores: Like people, this medium-sized monkey eats meat, fruits, and vegetables. They eat just about anything they can catch including insects, lizards, and bird eggs.
  • Named after capuchin monks: The Brown Capuchin and other Capuchin monkey species got their name by merit of their resemblance to the Brown-roped attire worn by capuchin monks.
  • Opens hard nuts with stones: Some Brown Capuchins have been observed using stones to break open hard rainforest nuts. After picking a palm nut, they allow it to dry for a few days or a week. Then they place it on a hard, fallen tree trunk or large stone and use another heavy stone to crack open the nut.

How to see Brown Capuchins during an Amazonian adventure:

  • Listen and watch for moving branches: This is a great way to find all sorts of monkeys but is especially good for locating a group of Brown Capuchins.
  • Find a troop of Squirrel Monkeys: If you locate a good-sized group of Squirrel Monkeys, there is a good chance that Brown Capuchins are not too far behind.
  • Do a rainforest hike with a trained guide: Visit the Rainforest Expedition lodges in the Peruvian Amazon and one of our experienced guides will help you find this active, intelligent rainforest primate.

Click here to read a fascinating blog piece on Capuchin Monkey Economies. 

Visit Tambopata for your Amazonian trip and watch Brown Capuchins in action!

As Seen in

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