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Strange Tails

We're delighted to have a strong population of strange-tailed tyrants at the reserve. So much so that we've adopted these beautiful and endangered birds as the symbol of the Trust

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Black Howler Monkey (juv)

Black Howler Monkey (juv)

Alouatta caraya


The Black Howler Monkey, largest of the American monkeys, is relatively common in South America and certainly lives up to its name.  They are considered to be the loudest land animals and we often hear a chorus of incredibly loud grunts and rumbles around dawn at the reserve, just before it rains and at other random times.  They are very shy animals (except for one juvenile in our nearby wood), and will urinate and defecate on intruders whilst trying to get out of sight.  I have developed a loose relationship with the local monkeys and they appear to tolerate my presence.

They detect intruders in their space by emitting a low grunting which becomes louder as the intruder gets closer.  

The male is black whereas the female is more of a red colour and the juveniles start off an ivory colour.  Their length can vary from about 50cm to almost a metre with the prehensile tail almost as long.  Their lifespan can be up to 20 years.  The female carries its offspring clinging to her lower torso or back until the juvenile can use its prehensile tail which can be up to 6 months.

We have a family of these attractive social animals in each of our small woods and the family size seems to range from 6 to about 12.  They move around high in the tops of trees only coming down to ground level to take water although the majority of their water comes from dew in the leaves.  Their diet consists of leaves, fruit, flowers and nuts.

These mammals have no predators other than possibly Jaguars, but are in decline due to loss of habitat.

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