White-faced Saki

(Pithecia pithecia)


White-faced Saki IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

Male white-faced sakis have a head-body length of 33-38 cm and weigh 1.9-2.1 kgs, females are slightly smaller and lighter. The tail is 33-45 cm long. There is a clear sexual dimorphism: the coat of males is black except for white to reddish forehead, face and throat. Females are brown to brownish-grey above and paler below, with white to pale red-brown stripes from the eyes to the corners of the mouth.


Sakis are diurnal and wholly arboreal, but sometimes descend to the lower limbs of trees or even to bushes in search of food. Their diet consists of berries and fruit, honey, leaves, flowers, small mammals such as mice and bats, and small birds.


The white-faced sakis live in small family groups, consisting of the parents and two or three offspring. A single youngster is born after a gestation of about 170 days and clings to the mother for the first couple of weeks, when the male or one of its siblings may also carry it. They are independent by six months, but they usually stay with their family after this period. Sakis live to about 14 years of age in the wild, but may reach more than 20 years of age in zoos.

Did you know?
That sakis do not grab branches between their index finger and thumb, as we would, but between the index finger and middle finger, so they have three fingers on one side and a finger and thumb on the other?


Suborder SIMIAE
Name (Scientific) Pithecia pithecia
Name (English) White-faced Saki
Name (French) Saki à face blanche ou Saki à face pâle
Name (German) Weiß- oder Blaßkopfsaki
Name (Spanish) Sakí de Cabeza Blanca
Local names Brazil: Parauacu
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



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Range Southern and eastern Venezuela, Guianas, northeastern Brazil
Habitat Tropical rainforest
Wild population Unknown, but stable (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 329 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

White-faced Saki


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 31 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Udo Schröter

Why do zoos keep this animal

Although the species is not threatened in the wild, two regional zoo associations, AZA and EAZA, maintain coordinated breeding programmes allowing for keeping white-faced sakis in zoos with the need of importing animals from the wild only under exceptional circumstances.


Because it is a conspicuous animal compatible with a range of other species, the white-faced saki is good ambassador species for its threatened habitat, the neotropical rainforest.