Black Howler Monkey

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Black Howler Monkey


Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina


Primary dry deciduous, and broadleaf forests


Adult males are all black. Adult females are golden light to dark yellow.

These primates are the biggest of all the New World monkeys. Unlike Old World monkeys, howlers and other New World species have wide, side-opening nostrils and no pads on their rumps. Howlers also boast a prehensile tail. They can use this tail as an extra arm to grip or even hang from branches—no Old World monkeys have such a tail. A gripping tail is particularly helpful to howler monkeys because they rarely descend to the ground. They prefer to stay aloft, munching on the leaves that make up most of their diet.

Black Howler Monkey

Diurnal and arboreal. Black-and-gold howlers may come to the ground to drink from ponds. They also drink water from arboreal sources by wetting and then licking their hands. They drink more water when there is a lack of young leaves. Grooming is seen mostly between adult females and young individuals. A dominant male is groomed by the adult female.


Tongue flicking is a ritualized display of sexual solicitation. It is especially distinctive in this species because the tongues are pink, bordered with black. Usually only one offspring is born. Both genders are the same color until the male turns black at about 2 1/2 years old.

Did YOU Know?    
They are the loudest animal in the New World and while their howl is not a piercing sound, it can travel for three miles through dense forest.
Black Howler Monkey
Class: mammals
Order: Primates
Genus: Alouatta
Species: caraya
Length: 16.5-21.7 inches; tail length: 20.9-25.6 inches
Weight: Males: 11-18 pounds; females: 8-11 pounds
Average Lifespan: 15 years
Wild Diet: Leaves, fruit, flowers, buds
Predators: Large birds of prey
USFWS Status: Threatened
CITES Status: Appendix II
Where at the Zoo? Primate Building

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