The Tufted Capuchin (Sapajus Apella), also known as the Brown Capuchin, Black-Capped Capuchin, or Pin Monkey, is a New World Monkey in the Cebidae family of monkeys and is found in the northern rainforests of Guyana, Venezuela, and Brazil. The Tufted Capuchin is stronger and more durably built than other Capuchins; with brownish gray fur and black hands and feet. They are notable for the tuft of hair on their heads that can be raised like a wig, with the movie “The Hangover 2” making the Tufted Capuchin’s “hairstyle” iconic. Many people believe that their hair resembles that of Elvis Presley, but it is actually an adaptation that allows them to remain camouflaged as they hunt for insects that make up a significant portion of their diet.
The Tufted Capuchin can be primarily found in northern Amazon rainforest of the Guyana, Venezuela and Brazil, but can also be found as far north as the Orinoco in Venezuela. However, it has also been found in eastern Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, which gives this species a rather large range compared to many other primates in the region. The Tufted Capuchin can be found in many different kinds of environments including moist tropical and subtropical forest regions, dry forest regions, and even disturbed or secondary forest; though it typically prefers the most tropical regions of the forest. Furthermore, their range and habitat overlaps with several other species of Capuchins such as the White-Fronted Capuchins.
Tufted Capuchins make up a significant portion of their diet with nuts; utilizing the use of stones to act as hammers to smash the hard shells. They then leave the nuts to dry for approximately a week before they are ready to eat. Besides nuts, the Tufted Capuchin also eats fruit, insects, eggs, young birds, frogs, lizards, and bats. Their healthy balance between fruit, nuts, and small animal prey makes them omnivores.
Another interesting fact about Tufted Capuchins is that that search for food in groups; something very unique compared to other Capuchin species. When one individual has located food, they will signal the other members using a whistling sound that varies depending on the quantity of food that has been discovered.
Fun Tufted Capuchin Facts
- The Tufted Capuchin has been observed using containers to hold water, using sponges to absorb juice, and using stones as hammers and chisels to penetrate barriers.
- The Tufted Capuchin lives in regions that overlap with other species of Capuchins.
- The Tufted Capuchin is arboreal, but it often forages on the ground to search for food or to walk longer distances between trees that are too far apart to jump.
- One population of this species has been observed using stones as a tool to open hard nuts.
- Tufted Capuchins look for food in groups; a trait that is unique compared to most other species.