Crested capuchin (Cebus robustus)

Crested capuchin
Loading more images and videos...

Crested capuchin fact file

Crested capuchin description

GenusCebus (1)

The crested capuchin (Cebus robustus), also known as the robust tufted capuchin, is recognisable by a conical crest which forms a peak on the crown of the head (2). The crest itself is very dark in colour and the black fur extends around the capuchin’s face to form a dense ‘beard’ under the chin. The lower parts of the arms, legs and tail are also black, while the rest of the body is covered in rich reddish-brown fur (2).

The male crested capuchin has a relatively well developed sagittal crest, a bony ridge along the top of the skull, and has darker fur than the female. The male is also slightly larger than the female, but the sexes are similar in other aspects (2).

Also known as
robust tufted capuchin.
Cebus apella robustus.
Male head-body length: 40 - 55 cm (2)
Female head-body length: 30 - 40 cm (2)
Tail length: 30 - 50 cm (2)

Crested capuchin biology

The crested capuchin is an arboreal monkey and spends most of its life foraging in the forest understorey. Like other capuchins, the crested capuchin is particularly partial to fruits, but will also eat other plant parts as well as insects, frogs and even small mammals (1).

Capuchin monkeys (Cebus spp.) are known for their ability to manipulate objects and food. They are intelligent, social animals and the crested capuchin is no exception. The crested capuchin is a manipulative forager, capable of using its cognitive abilities and highly dexterous hands to prepare food items (4). As in other capuchins, this could include using a rock to break open a tough nut or hard-shelled mollusc. The advanced foraging skills of capuchins allow them to exploit food sources that are inaccessible to other primates (5).

Very little is known about the behaviour of the crested capuchin. However, capuchin species usually live in groups, with each group known to have a structured hierarchical system with a dominant male at the head of the troop and a dominant female subordinate to that male. Lower ranking males usually stay peripheral to the main troop (1).

Capuchins generally have long lifespans of up to 55 years, and slow reproductive cycles. When born, the infant is highly dependent on its mother and will not reach sexual maturity until about five years of age (6).


Crested capuchin range

The crested capuchin is endemic to Brazil, where it inhabits an area stretching from southern Bahia to northern Espírito Santo and then further west to Minas Gerais (1).


Crested capuchin habitat

Found in the Atlantic forest of eastern Brazil, the crested capuchin inhabits both tropical lowland and submontane forest. It has also been recorded in dry semi-deciduous forest in the west of its range. This species particularly favours the lower to middle parts of the forest canopy (1).


Crested capuchin status

The crested capuchin is listed as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1), and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Crested capuchin threats

The main threat that the crested capuchin faces is the fragmentation and destruction of its natural forest habitat. Economic demand for coffee, eucalyptus, pine plantations, cattle and agricultural crops is high, which results in forest clearing (1). As a result,only around nine percent of the original Atlantic rainforest remains undamaged in Brazil (7).

The crested capuchin is also hunted by locals. As a direct result of these threats the crested capuchin population is rapidly decreasing (1).


Crested capuchin conservation

There are several protected areas within the range of the crested capuchin, such as the Linhares Forest Reserve in Espírito Santo and the State Biological Reserve Mata dos Ausentes in Minas Gerais (1). The crested capuchin is also listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which means trade in this species should be closely monitored (3).

The Committee for the Atlantic forest capuchin monkeys, Cebus xanthosternos and Cebus robustus, was created in 1992 with the aim of protecting and conserving these two species. Then, in 2004, the committee took in a working group for two more species, the Barbara Brown’s titi monkey (Callicebus barbarabrownae) and Coimbra-Filho’s titi monkey (Callicebus coimbrai). Since then it has been working hard to outline the appropriate emergency steps needed to save these species (8).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

More information on primate conservation:

More information on the Atlantic forest:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

This species information was authored as part of the Arkive and Universities Scheme.


An animal which lives or spends a large amount of time in trees.
Atlantic forest
A highly biodiverse region found along the east coast of South America, comprising several different vegetation types, including high-altitude grassland, and lowland and montane forest.
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
A diverse group of invertebrates, mainly marine, that have one or all of the following: a horny, toothed ribbon in the mouth (the radula), a shell covering the upper surface of the body, and a mantle or mantle cavity with a type of gill. Includes snails, slugs, shellfish, octopuses and squid.
Sagittal crest
The bony plate that protrudes from the base of the skull.
Refers to plants that lose their foliage for a very short period.
Submontane forest
Forest occurring in the foothills or lower slopes of a mountainous region.


  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2011)
  2. Osman Hill, W.C. (1964) Primates: Comparative Anatomy and Taxonomy. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.
  3. CITES (November, 2011)
  4. Wasserman, E.A. and Zentall, T.R. (2009)Comparative Cognition: Experimental Explorations of Animal Intelligence. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  5. Else, J.G. and Lee, P.C. (1986)Primate Ecology and Conservation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  6. Conn, P.M. (2006) The Handbook of Models for Human Aging. Elsevier Academic Press, London.
  7. Saatchi, S., Algal, K., Filoso, S., Ives, C.A., Mesquita, C.A. and Rice, R. (1997) Mapping Forest Fragments in Atlantic Coastal Moist Forest of Bahia, Brazil: A Case Study for Conservation and Biodiversity. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, USA.
  8. de Oliveira, M.M., Marini-Filho, O.J. and de Oliveira Campos, V. (2005) The International Committee for the Conservation and Management of Atlantic Forest Atelids. Neotropical Primates, 13: 101-104.

Image credit

Crested capuchin  
Crested capuchin

© Luiz Claudio Marigo /

Nature Picture Library
5a Great George Street
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 117 911 4675
Fax: +44 (0) 117 911 4699


Link to this photo

Arkive species - Crested capuchin (Cebus robustus) Embed this Arkive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to Arkive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about



MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite Arkive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!


Back To Top