top of page

Common name: White-Faced Capuchin
Scientific name: Cebus capucinus

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Cebidae
Genus: Cebus
Species: C. capucinus


The White-faced Capuchin is a unique animal. They are considered one of the most intelligent New World monkeys. They stay in groups of about 20 capuchins and stay in the trees unless they’re looking for food and drinking water.

White-faced Capuchins can reach up to 13-17 inches. Males weigh 7-9 pounds and females weigh 5-7 pounds. They can reach full adult size by age 8.  The fur on their face, forearms, and upper chest is white. Their back and hindquarters are solid black and the skin on their face is a light pink color. White-faced Capuchins have prehensile tails, which means that they can use their tails to grab things or carry food. Their tail also helps with their posture. They can walk on all fours and are really good at climbing and leaping.

They occupy a wide range of habitat, as but prefer to live in tropical evergreens and dry forests. They live in wet, dry, primary, and secondary forests. White-faced Capuchins are usually found in areas with high humidity. They are native to Central America in the Neotropical Region (South and Central America). Their species have one of the widest ranges in all of the New World monkeys.

Their primary diets consist of fruits and nuts, but when they can find it, they also enjoy eating insects, squirrels, tree rats, lizards, and birds. Fruit makes up about 50-80% of their diet. They mostly eat ripe fruit. Some methods that White-faced Capuchins use to get food is to strip of the bark on trees, breaking dead tree branches, rolling over rocks, and using rocks as anvils to break the shells of hard fruits.

Their most common predators are snakes and harpy eagles but caimans, and cats like jaguars and ocelots are their predators. According to Wikipedia, they are regarded as “least concern” from a conservation standpoint but there numbers are impacted by the fact that they are being captured for the pet trade.

Because the White-faced Capuchin is very smart and easy to train, they are used to help people who are quadriplegics (lost the use of all four limbs) in many developed countries. Some of the White-faced Capuchin’s common names are White-throated Capuchins and White-faced Sapajou.  They sleep on tree branches and only go to the forest floor to look for food and drinking water. White-faced Capuchins are very smart and are known to rub parts of plants on their fur. The reason for the fur rubbing isn’t known but they think that it is to get rid of ticks and insects or to serve as “medicine”.

Author: Angelika S.
Published: February 14, 2011

Picture: Paniagua, Ma Jose' Capuchin Monkey (Cebus Capucinus). Photograph. Oryx Press, 2002. Web. 14 Feb. 2011.

Biography: Long, J. and K. Francl. 2009. "Cebus capucinus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed February 14, 2011 <>. "Longevity, Ageing, and Life History of Cebus Capucinus." Human Ageing Genomic Resources. Web. 14 Feb. 2011. <>."Capuchin Monkey - New World Encyclopedia." Info: Main Page - New World Encyclopedia. Web. 14 Feb. 2011.






bottom of page