Bald Uakari

The bald uakari is an Amazonian primate with unique features and a brilliant complexion. They are typically found in certain parts of South America. They are small New World monkeys that primarily live on the trees along the lakes. These monkeys have four subspecies – White bald-headed uakari, (Cacajao calvus calvus); Ucayali bald-headed uakari, (Cacajao calvus ucayalii); Red bald-headed uakari, (Cacajao calvus rubicundus); and Novae’s bald-headed uakari, (Cacajao calvus novaesi)

Scientific Classification

C. calvus

Table Of Content

Scientific Classification

C. calvus

Bald Uakari


Length: Male: 18.0 in (45.6 cm); Female: 17.3 in (44.0 cm)

Weight: 6.1-7.6 lb (2.75-3.45 kg)

Body and Coloration: As its name suggests, these monkeys have bald heads and flat hairless red faces. Unlike other local New World primates, the bald uakaris have relatively short tails, which are unsuited for forest life.

The bright red complexion of their faces is caused due to a higher density of blood vessels just underneath the surface. Long reddish-gold fur covers their whole body, which sometimes varies in color according to their subspecies.

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Range and Distribution

Its distribution is limited, extending between the Amazon River Basin in Eastern Peru and Western Brazil. They used to inhabit Colombia once. However, they presumably departed the region due to deforestation. They typically maintain a home range within 2 square miles.


These uakaris are arboreal primates that prefer to live in seasonally flooded tropical forests. They mostly dwell in areas with aguaje palm trees. This species spends its time mostly on trees throughout the rainy season as the water rises to great heights. They return to the ground during the dry season.

Bald Uakari Habitat
Bald Uakari Monkey


Even though the bald uakaris are omnivorous, their primary diet is mainly based on fruits and seeds. Only a tiny portion of their meals consists of meat, including various insects they occasionally consume.


  • This species is diurnal, which means they are more active during the day.
  • They are highly social animals, always traveling in groups known as troops.
  • During the daytime, a troop breaks into smaller groups of one to ten monkeys to travel in search of food.
  • The bald uakaris are quadruped, which means they walk or run on all four limbs while traveling through the trees. However, they sometimes walk on two legs while traveling on the ground.  
  •  During rainy seasons they move around in bigger troops. 
  • They communicate through vocalizations, facial expressions, pheromones, and body language and tend to wag their tails when feeling excited or threatened.
  • These monkeys mark their home ranges through loud shrieking calls.
  • These animals are usually quiet but tend to be very intelligent, active, and playful.


Bald uakaris have an average lifespan of 20 years. However, their lifespan can extend up to 30 years in captivity.


  • These primates can move swiftly using their strong limbs.
  • They have powerful jaws and sharp canines that crack or pierce through hardy fruits.
  • The bald uakari has a polymorphic color vision similar to many other South American primates. That means they have both dichromatic vision (they can see two different colors) and trichromatic vision (they are capable of seeing three different colors).
Bald Headed Uakari
Bald Uakari Image

Mating and Reproduction

These monkeys are monogamous, which means they mate with one partner exclusively. Their breeding season lasts from October to May. The females first mate when they are three years old, whereas the males start mating at six years of age. After six months of gestation, the female gives birth to a single baby. The population increases slowly as a single infant is born at an interval of only two years.

This species of uakaris are born very small and helpless. They need extreme care and constant observation until they are capable of fending for themselves. After being born, in the course of the first few months of their life, they feed entirely on their mother’s milk and always cling to them. The infant starts weaning at three to five months by consuming soft fruits.


As they live high up in the trees, they tend to attract predatory birds as well as other species like snakes and also larger monkeys that also prey on uakaris.

Conservation Status

According to the IUCN, the bald uakari is “Vulnerable” or “VU”. The conservation status of this monkey has been changed from “Nearly Threatened” to “Vulnerable” in the 2008 World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red list. This species decreased in number by 30% over the past 30 years. The decrease in population is caused mainly by habitat loss.

Interesting Facts

  • Bald uakaris with an unusually pale complexion indicate that they are suffering from a disease, most likely malaria.
  • Indigenous Amazonians sometimes capture these primates and also hunt them for food.

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