It’s late afternoon as the boat arrives at the dock at Posada Amazonas. In the rainforests of Tambopata, a few nunbirds are calling, a group of Dusky-headed Parakeets goes screeching overhead, and motmots give their hooting calls from deep within the forest. While walking along the trail to the lodge, another sound breaks the heavy humid jungle air. It’s a distinctive, throaty yodeling and the guide smiles as she turns around and says, “Dusky Titi monkeys!”
One of the first sounds heard in the jungle each morning around the Rainforest Expedition eco-lodges is the yodeling of Dusky Titi monkeys. Both the male and female of this small monkey call each morning and afternoon to establish their territories and for being such a small monkey (about the size of a squirrel), they have quite the loud voice. This is one of the most common monkey species in the Tambopata rainforests and is frequently encountered near the Rainforest Expedition lodges and on hikes through the jungle.
Some interesting facts about the Dusky Titi monkey:
- Dusky Titi monkeys mate for life: Unlike many other primates, the Dusky Titi forms strong pair bonds and mates for life. They are typically seen with their mates and juvenile offspring.
- Mostly vegetarian: Dusky Titi monkeys mostly feed upon fruits and vegetable matter although they will eat occasional insects.
- An understory monkey: Although the Dusky Titi stays off of the ground, it rarely forages very high in the trees. They are typically espied as they sit in the upper understory.
- Rather inactive: Compared to capuchins and Squirrel Monkeys, the Dusky Titi hardly moves around at all. They spend extensive amounts of time sitting in vine tangles and feeding on fruits in low rainforest trees.
- Preyed upon by raptors: Like many of the primates in the Peruvian Amazon, the Dusky Titi is preyed upon by large raptors such as the Ornate Hawk Eagle and the Crested Eagle. It avoids such predators by staying out of the treetops and trying to stay hidden in dense vegetation of the forest understory.
- They avoid capuchins: While Squirrel Monkeys frequently forage in groups with Brown Capuchins, the Dusky Titi appears to actively avoid that larger, more aggressive primate species. There have been observations of Brown Capuchins attacking and killing Dusky Titi monkeys so they may prey upon them given the opportunity.
How to see Dusky Titi monkeys in Tambopata:
- Learn their yodeling call: Once you learn their call, you realize how common this monkey is. Knowing what they sound like also helps in locating them in the dense forest.
- Take rainforest hikes with a trained guide: Qualified, experienced guides at the Rainforest Expedition lodges will probably know where Dusky Titi monkeys have been seen. They also know how to look for and find this attractive little primate.
One of the nicest things about the Dusky Titi monkey is their tendency to sit still for long periods of time in the forest understory. This not only makes it easy to watch them but it also makes them excellent subjects for rainforest photography.