Cotton-top Tamarin

(Saguinus oedipus)




Facts about this animal

Cotton-top Tamarins possess a crest of long whitish hair from the forehead to the nape flowing over the shoulders. Its back is primarily black or brown, while the underparts of the body, arms, and legs are predominantly white. The base of the tail is reddish-orange, while the tip is blackish. The mean adult body mass for this species is 432 g and they are about the size of a squirrel. There's no sexual dimorphism.


Cotton-top tamarins live in groups of 2-12 individuals in the wild. Most groups appear to be monogamous, with only one reproductively active male and female - exceptions to this trend have been found however.


Deforestation for agriculture, fuel, and housing is the greatest threat to the survival of the cotton-top tamarind in the wild. More than 3/4 of its original habitat has been deforested, much of it for cattle pasture. Remnant populations are small and are restricted to a few isolated forest fragments.


This species is frequently kept in human care and breeds freely, with self-sustaining populations.

Did you know?
That the cotton-top tamarin is found only in Colombia and is one of the most endangered primates in that country, threatened by pet trade and deforestation? The Zoological Foundation of Baranquilla (FUNDAZOO) and Disney's Animal Kingdom have therefore been working together since 2001 to promote conservation of the cotton-top tamarin.


Suborder SIMIAE
Name (Scientific) Saguinus oedipus
Name (English) Cotton-top Tamarin
Name (French) Tamarin pinché
Name (German) Lisztäffchen
Name (Spanish) Bichichi
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



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© Raimond Spekking / CC-BY-SA-3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)



Range Colombia
Habitat Tropical rainforest, secondary forest, open woodland
Wild population 6,000 individuals (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 1080 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Cotton-top Tamarin


How this animal should be transported

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


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Why do zoos keep this animal

The cotton-top tamarin is a critically endangered species in the wild. With a view of building up a viable reserve population, an International Studbook has been established in 1986 under the WAZA umbrella, and coordinated conservation breeding programmes are operated at the regional level by ARAZPA, AZA, EAZA and JAZA.