Monke Forest Tales: A day in the life of a Black-capped capuchin

San Martín Abril - Mayo 2011 104 (2)

Today post is the fourth in the series of posts about a day in the life of a group of monkeys. This time we are going to join a group of black-capped capuchin monkeys (Sapajus apella). This black capped capuchin monkeys live in small group of 6 individuals, with one male, two females, two juveniles and one baby. They are medium sized monkeys with yellow coat and dark face, legs and tail, and very strong jaw.

Our group started their day around 6:00 am when the sunrise was over, it start with some movements from the juveniles and females, a female scratch her leg while her baby drink some milk from her and then, get back to her back when she moves. Juveniles start searching for insects, looking under dead and live leaves, breaking small branches and sending debris all around them.

Then, the group found a couple of Mamito trees with their big reddish pulp and start eating from them. The group disperse to eat, vocalizing to keep contact between them. The baby grab some pulp from his mom hand and taste it. They are still near to the big tree where they spend the night. After a while, they start moving slowly to other trees with small black fruits near to the edge of the forest. The forest is full of fruits and insects, the air is humid, the rainy season had started in the area.

After some hundreds of meters of relatively fast moving while eating insects, the group start to move slowly again. Juveniles start chasing between them, running and jumping from branch to branch. The baby join them after a while and they all hug and bite each other forming a small of arms and faces, screaming. The females are eating again some small yellow fruits from a nearby tree with wide branches. The juveniles stop their playing to join the adult and eat. The male is breaking some branches searching for insects, eating some cockroach and spiders hiding on dead leaves.

It’s almost noon and the adults stop moving. A female is grooming her baby sitting in a wide branch next to the males who is laying down with his leg hanging. The other females is a in another branch grooming a juvenile. After some quiet and calm minutes, the juveniles start playing again, chasing each other, while the adults are resting. The baby moves close to her mom, running a little bit and biting small branches nearby.  After a while, the juvenile join the adult and rest with them.

Around 2 pm, they start moving again. They move fast and with a clear direction. Suddenly they stop in an Anime tree to eat some fruits. Juveniles eat a bit there and start playing again. The group starts dispersing a bit, all looking for some insect and slowly moving towards the ground. They are close to the forest edge. Some individuals are searching for insects, others are eating small purple fruits, while the male look at the sky and on the ground. He is looking for any sign of danger. A big Caracara moves across the sky.

They are near to the ground, the juveniles and baby playing again, making a lot of noise and chasing each other on the ground, the rest of the group searching and eating insects and spiders in the nearby trees and on the ground. After a couple of hours of slow movements in the lower branches and close to the ground, the group start moving faster and in higher branches. It’s getting darker. The sky is cloudy, and a soft wind is moving the branches.

It’s around 5 pm and they slow down a bit, they are close to a group of Unama palms that they use as dormitory from time to time. They eat from some Anime and Nispero trees around. Juveniles searching for insects and eating some fruits too. Around movement starts again, slowly. They move, and eat some fruits and insects, not 5:45 only juveniles seems to be moving, jumping from one leave to the other, chasing each other, the baby playing with them. It’s almost 6:30 pm and the sun is gone. All movement had stopped, and only occasional sound can be hear. The group is resting.

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