Black Howler Monkey

Alouatta caraya

Scientific Name

Black Howler Monkey:  
Alouatta caraya

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

Black howler monkeys are found in the rainforests of central South America, ranging through eastern Bolivia, southern Brazil, Paraguay, Belize and northern Argentina.

Natural Habitat

Black howler monkeys range from tropical semi-deciduous forests where rains are nearly constant throughout the year, to tropical rainforests.

Physical Characteristics

  • Black howler monkeys are sexually dimorphic with males being larger and a different color from the females. Males have black hair, while females have more yellow-brown or olive colored hair. Infants are born with a coat color closer to the females, which changes in males as they mature. They are approximately two feet in length with a 30 inch tail. Their average weight is 15 pounds. Black howler monkeys have prehensile tails. These tails are hairless on the underside which allows them to be sensitive to touch and act like a 5th hand. Their black face is mostly hairless with slightly bushy eyebrows. Their medium sized brown eyes are set in a frontal position. Their muzzle is prominent and nostrils close together. Like other howlers they have an enlarged hyoid and larynx in the vocal cords where the distinctive howling originates.

Quick Facts

    • Black howler monkeys are named and known for their loud, guttural howls that they use at the beginning and at the end of each day. Their howls can be heard for 3 miles and are used to mark their territory.
    • Only the male black howler is actually black at all, the female is blonde in color.
    • Howlers usually live in social groups of up to 30 animals, although 5-8 in a group is more common.


M&T Bank Rainforest Falls

Conservation Status

Least Concern: The Black Howler Monkey is common or abundant and is likely to survive in the wild.

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Black howler monkeys are herbivorous. They eat fruit, buds and flowers. They rarely come down from the canopy layer, since their entire food source is there.