Callicebus cupreuscoppery titi

Geographic Range

Red titi monkeys (Callicebus cupreus) are South American primates found in Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia. There are three subspecies of red titi monkeys found in riparian habitats. In Brazil, they can be found west of the Rio Madeira, and populations continue west into Peru near the Rio Huallaga. They can also be found in the upper Rio Madre de Dios basin in Bolivia and Peru, near the northern Rio-Maranon-Amazonas area, and around the Eastern Cordillera in Peru and Ecuador. In Colombia, red titi monkeys inhabit the region between the Rios Guamues and the Putumayo. There is a 350 km gap spanning the area between the Putumayo and the Upper Rio Orinoco basin where no red titi monkeys can be found. Populations are also found along the eastern base of the Sierra de la Macarena between the Guyabero and Upia rivers. (Hershkovitz, 1990; Kinzey, 1981)


Red titi monkeys are found most often in lowland tropical and sub-tropical forests which flood seasonally. They also favor forest understory habitats, young forests, swamp edges, and bamboo thickets. (Fleagle, 1999; Kinzey, 1981; Mason, 1974)

Physical Description

Red titi monkeys are small New World monkeys, with both males and females weighing around 1 kg. The length of their head and body together ranges from 287 to 390 mm, they also have a tail that is about one third to one fourth the length of the head and body combined. The tail is not prehensile, but may play a role in male-female bonding, as mates have been seen sitting with tails intertwined. Red titi monkeys have a dental formula of 2/2, 1/1, 3/3, 3/3. Males and females have canines which are similar in size and length. The molars of Callicebus species are morphologically simple. (Ankel-Simons, 2007; Fleagle, 1999; Hershkovitz, 1990; Kinzey, 1981)

Red titi monkeys have coarse fur covering most of the body, except for the face. They have a band of white fur across the crown of the head and red colored fur running along the sides of the cheeks, chest, and belly. The back is covered in darker brown fur while the inner arms and legs are orange or red. The hind limbs are shorter than the forelimbs. The three subspecies of Callicebus cupreus: C. c. cupreus, C. c. ornatuas, and C. c. discolor, can be distinguished from one another based on differences in the color of fur across the forehead. Callicebus c. discolor has white or buffy colored fur running across the forehead, while C. c. cupreus has a less contrasting buffy colored forehead with an outline of black fur. Callicebus c. ornatus shares the pale colored forehead with C. c. discolor, but can be distinguished by the pale fur on its digits. (Ankel-Simons, 2007; Fleagle, 1999; Hershkovitz, 1990; Kinzey, 1981)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Average mass
    1 kg
    2.20 lb
  • Average mass
    1120 g
    39.47 oz


Titi monkeys (Callicebus) in general are monogamous, and red titi monkeys are no exception. Monogamous pairs mate for many years and can have up to three generations of offspring living in the family group at any time. (Ankel-Simons, 2007; Kinzey, 1981; Kinzey, 1989; Mason, 1974)

Red titi monkeys give birth once a year to a single young between November and March. They have an estrus cycle of 17 to 21 days. Family groups range in size from two to five members, including the mated pair and one to three young. (Kinzey, 1981; Kinzey, 1989; Mason, 1974)

  • Breeding interval
    Red titi monkeys give birth once yearly.
  • Breeding season
    Red titi monkeys have one birth per year between November and March.
  • Average number of offspring
  • Average number of offspring
  • Average gestation period
    132 days
  • Average weaning age
    4 months
  • Average time to independence
    2 years

Male parents are the main caregivers: they carry the young on their backs, beginning within hours of birth, and continue to do so at all times, except when the mother is nursing the infant. Males continue to carry the young until they reach 4 months old. (Kinzey, 1981; Kinzey, 1989; Mason, 1974)

  • Parental Investment
  • altricial
  • pre-fertilization
    • provisioning
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • male
  • pre-independence
    • provisioning
      • male
    • protecting
      • male


There is little information available on the lifespan of Callicebus cupreus. A related species, Callicebus moloch, has a life span of 25 years. (Johnson, 1996)

  • Average lifespan
    Status: captivity
    26.4 years


Red titi monkeys are diurnal and arboreal, spending almost all day in the trees, only coming to the ground on rare occasions. There have been no observations of any male or female dominance, although one study noted that males lead groups 59% of the time, compared to 37% of the time for females. Red titi monkeys spend much of their day in social activities, making physical contact approximately 47% of the time (Mason, 1974). The main social activity is grooming, which makes up 29% of social contact and cements social bonds. A second important social behavior is tail intertwining, which occurs between pairs of red titi monkeys 29% of the time, during both waking and sleeping hours. (Kinzey, 1981; Kinzey, 1989; Mason, 1974)

Much of the day is spent feeding, beginning in the early morning with intense feeding, which is followed by a resting period in the middle of the day. Feeding continues late into the afternoon and ends with around two hours of leaf feeding before resting at night. When red titi monkeys are sleeping, they choose locations in the trees that are covered in dense vines and leaves so that they are somewhat hidden. Male and female pairs sleep together and often entwine their tails during sleep. Red titi monkeys rarely associate with other primates, although they sometimes feed in the same trees as marmosets (Callithrix) and tamarins (Saguinus). Male and female pairs defend their territory vocally by performing frequent duets at the borders of territories. Aggression is rare between red titi monkeys, although juveniles have been observed play fighting with one another or with the adult male in the group. Young adults leave the family group around 2 to 3 years of age, a separation that can be precipitated by the birth of a new offspring. (Kinzey, 1981; Kinzey, 1989; Mason, 1974)

Each family group lives in a small, distinct home range, neighboring family groups often encounter one another at the borders of these home ranges, which sometimes leads to confrontations. (Kinzey, 1981; Mason, 1974)

Home Range

Red titi monkeys have relatively small home ranges of about 568 square meters. (Kinzey, 1981)

Communication and Perception

Red titi monkeys have a strong sense of smell, which plays a role in communication through olfaction. When two red titi monkeys encounter one another for the first time they sniff the face of their new acquaintance. Males also sniff the genital region of their mate before copulating as well as at other times. They also engage in chest rubbing. Male red titi monkeys rub their chests across horizontal branches, spreading secretions from their sternal gland, and have been observed sniffing the branch following chest rubbing. This may play a role in marking territory, but individuals have only been observed sniffing their own scent and not those of others. Grooming and tail intertwining are forms of communication that involve all members of the group, and are important in forming social bonds. Members of a family group will engage in tail intertwining at the end of the night before sleeping. Red titi monkeys have several visual cues that they display when excited or angry. Angry individuals may engage in body swaying, looking away, shaking of the head and body, or raising and lashing of the tail. Other visual cues include a lowered head, closed eyes, protruding lips, bared teeth, an arched back, and pilo-erection. (Kinzey, 1981; Muller and Gustl, 2002)

Red titi monkeys are highly vocal animals and have a complex system of vocalizations. Vocal elements include whistles, screams, grunts, and moans. The most frequently used vocalizations are bellows, pumping, and panting, which are the main components of male and female pair duets. Duets are performed daily at or before sunrise and are usually performed near the border of the home range. Neighboring pairs respond to duetting, which is important in defining territorial boundaries between family groups. A duet can last up to five minutes, with males and females sitting half a meter from one another. A duet begins with moaning and ends with honking. Following moaning, males will typically bellow and females will pant during the bellows, then both will engage in pumping as a synchronized transition, followed by females bellowing while males pant. There are no sex-specific song components, as both males and females alternate between bellows and pants. The duet is only synchronized during the transition between sequences, and neither mate has been found to adapt their pitch or frequency to match their counterpart. The synchrony and sequence in which a pair performs their duet develops slowly over time. A new pair will begin duetting within the first day of becoming mates, but new pairs show greater variability in the length of sequences in their duets than do established pairs. Interestingly, weather seems to have an impact on the frequency of duetting, as it has been observed that pairs engage in more calls on overcast days than clear days and do not make calls during rain. Unpaired, non-resident males also communicate with one another through vocalizations; these calls are different from male portions of duetting. (Kinzey, 1981)

  • Other Communication Modes
  • duets

Food Habits

Red titi monkeys spend approximately 75% of their feeding time eating fruit. The other 25% of the time they consume leaves, bamboo shoots, and some insects. The two fruits most often consumed are Ficus and Brosimum rubecens, which are both soft fruits. Berries are also commonly eaten. Peak feeding times are in the morning and later afternoon, with additional feeding on leaves prior to sleeping. Red titi monkeys are rarely seen feeding in the same trees at the same time as other primates, but can be seen feeding in a tree before or after another primate species. Individuals of a family group habitually feed on the same food source at the same time, indicating a possible social aspect to feeding times. Females have been found to double their intake of insects when lactating, a period during which the protein needs of females increases. Conversely, males have not been seen to make any changes to their diets during the period where they carry infants on their backs. (Herrera and Heymann, 2004; Kinzey, 1981)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects
  • Plant Foods
  • fruit


Predators that may prey on red titi monkeys include diurnal birds of prey, cats, and possibly capuchin monkeys (Cebus). Red titi monkeys are not a main source of food for local hunters, compared to larger neotropical primates, making human predation threats rare. (Kinzey, 1989)

Ecosystem Roles

Red titi monkeys are important in their habitat as prey for diurnal raptors and, sometimes, Cebus monkeys. They also compete for food resources for other neotropical primates. Finally, they may disperse the seeds of the fruits they eat. (Kinzey, 1981)

  • Ecosystem Impact
  • disperses seeds

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Red titi monkeys attract ecotourism ventures.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no negative impacts of red titi monkeys on humans.

Conservation Status

Red titi monkeys are listed by the IUCN as a species of least concern. (Rylands, et al., 2007)


Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Ingrid Sproll (author), Yale University, Eric Sargis (editor, instructor), Yale University.



living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

World Map


uses sound to communicate


young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.


Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

  1. active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.

to jointly display, usually with sounds in a highly coordinated fashion, at the same time as one other individual of the same species, often a mate


humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals.


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


an animal that mainly eats fruit


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


Having one mate at a time.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.


Referring to something living or located adjacent to a waterbody (usually, but not always, a river or stream).

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


remains in the same area


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


associates with others of its species; forms social groups.


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.


uses sight to communicate


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.


Ankel-Simons, F. 2007. Primate Anatomy. Burlington MA: Academic Press.

Fleagle, J. 1999. Primate Adaptation and Evolution. San Diego: Academic Press.

Herrera, E., E. Heymann. 2004. Does mom need more protein? Preliminary Observations on differencesin Diet Composition in a pair of Red Titi monkeys. Folia Primatologica, 75: 1-4.

Hershkovitz, P. 1990. Titis, New World Monkeys of the Genus Callicebus A Preliminary Taxonomic Review. Fieldiana, 55: 61-65.

Johnson, D. 1996. "The Lifespans of non-human Primates" (On-line). Accessed May 05, 2007 at

Kinzey, W. 1981. Ecology and Behavior of Neotropical Primates. Rio de Janeiro: Academia Brasilera de Ciencias.

Kinzey, W. 1989. New World Primates Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. New York: Aldine De Gruyter.

Mason, W. 1974. Comparative Studies of Social Behavior in Callicebus and Saimiri: Behavior of male female pairs. Folia Primatologica, vol 22: 1-7.

Muller, A., A. Gustl. 2002. Duetting in the Titi Monkey Callicebus Cupreus; Structure, Pair Specificity, and Developement of Duets. Folia Primatologica, 73: 1-12.

Rylands, A., M. Bampi, A. Chiarello. 2007. "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species" (On-line). Accessed May 06, 2007 at