Uta Hick’s bearded saki (Chiropotes utahickae)

Young Uta Hick's bearded saki in primate centre
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Uta Hick’s bearded saki fact file

Uta Hick’s bearded saki description

GenusChiropotes (1)

Named after Uta Hick, of the Cologne Zoo, who contributed a great deal to the research of saki monkeys, Uta Hick’s bearded saki (Chiropotes utahickae) possesses the characteristic beard and bushy, fox-like tail of the Chiropotes genus (2). The name Chiropotes is derived from the Greek word for ‘hand drinker’, for the unusual behaviour observed in some individuals of scooping up water in their hand to drink (2).

Uta Hick’s bearded saki can be distinguished from the black bearded saki (Chiropotes satanas) by its reddish brown coat and darker limbs (2). Uta Hick’s bearded saki is bigger than members of the marmoset and tamarin family (Callitrichidae), has longer arms and is a better climber (5).

Chiropotes satanas utahicki.
Male head-body length: 39 cm (2)
Female head-body length: 36.6 cm (2)
Male average weight: 3.1 kg (3)
Female average weight: 2.5 kg (3)

Uta Hick’s bearded saki biology

Mostly eating unripe fruit and seeds, Uta Hick’s bearded saki has large canine teeth and strong jaws to crack into hard shells, and has flat molar teeth to grind up fruit before swallowing (8). Each day, Uta Hick’s bearded saki travels around 3.3 kilometres in search of food (9), walking or running on all fours (10). When it finds a suitable feeding tree Uta Hick’s bearded saki has been observed to hang upside down by its hind feet to feed on fruits in hard to reach places (6).

Uta Hick’s bearded saki lives in group sizes of approximately 22 individuals (9), but these groups change depending on availability of food (11). Often, the Uta Hick’s bearded saki will travel in a large group that splits into smaller feeding parties, preventing competition between members of the group (11). Although there may be a low level of fighting between males in the group (3), Uta Hick’s bearded saki is a social monkey, participating in play, grooming and social sleeping with other members of the group (12).

Uta Hick’s bearded saki reproduces mainly in the dry season, between December and April (12). Gestation lasts around 150 days (6), and infants are cared for by the female (12). The young Uta Hick’s bearded saki clings to the females’ chest for the first two months and then is carried on its back until it is five months old. After around one year the juvenile Uta Hick’s bearded saki will no longer be carried by the female, although it will not be weaned for a further few months (12).

The maximum lifespan of Uta Hick’s bearded saki is approximately 18 years (6).


Uta Hick’s bearded saki range

Uta Hick’s bearded saki is native to Brazil and lives in the Amazonian lowlands in an area between the Rios Xingu and Tocantins (1).


Uta Hick’s bearded saki habitat

The Amazon rainforest, where this saki lives, is humid and tropical. Uta Hick’s bearded saki is arboreal, living in the mid to upper canopy of evergreen trees near to streams (6).

Uta Hick’s bearded saki prefers to live in primary forest that has not been disturbed by human activity (6). However, an unexpectedly high number of Uta Hick’s bearded saki has been found in fragmented forest, proving it to be an adaptable species (7).


Uta Hick’s bearded saki status

Uta Hick's bearded saki is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (4).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Uta Hick’s bearded saki threats

The Amazon rainforest is changing rapidly, with roads and logging dividing up Uta Hick’s saki’s habitat. In 2010, 7,000 square kilometres of the Amazon rainforest were cleared (13) due to large construction projects such as the Transamazonian Highway and the Tucurui dam (1). In the north of Uta Hick’s bearded saki’s range, forest is being cleared for large and small scale farming and cattle ranching (1).

As well as habitat loss, Uta Hick’s bearded saki is also under threat from hunting by local people for meat and its luxurious tail, which may be used as decoration or even as a fly swat (6).


Uta Hick’s bearded saki conservation

A Conservation Action Plan for Uta Hick’s bearded saki is currently being developed by an international committee (1) and hopefully it’s adaptability to disturbed habitat will be helpful in conservation efforts (7).

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

Find out more

For further information on conservation in the Amazon see:



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.
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth.


  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2011)
  2. Hershkovitz, P. (1985) A preliminary taxonomic review of the South American bearded saki monkeys genus Chiropotes (Cebidae, Platyrrhini), with the description of a new subspecies. Fieldiana Zoology, 1(27): 1-46.
  3.  Ford, S.M. (1994) Evolution of sexual dimorphism in body weight in Platyrrhines. American Journal of Primatology, 34(2): 221-244.
  4. CITES (November, 2011)
  5. Hershkovitz, P. (1977) Living New World Monkeys (Platyrrhini): With an Introduction to Primates. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  6. Hildyard, A. (2001) Endangered Wildlife and Plants of the World. Marshall Cavendish Corporation, Tarrytown, NY.
  7. Bobadillia, U.L. and Ferrari, S.F. (2000) Habitat use by Chiropotes satanas utahicki and syntopic platyrrhines in Eastern Amazonia. American Journal of Primatology, 50(3): 215-224.
  8. Kinzey, W.G. and Norconk, M.A. (1990) Hardness as a basis of fruit choice in two sympatric primates. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 81(1): 5-15.

Image credit

Young Uta Hick's bearded saki in primate centre  
Young Uta Hick's bearded saki in primate centre

© Liza Veiga

Liza Veiga
Coordenação de Pós-graduação (CZO)
Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi (MPEG)
Av. Perimitral 1901
Tel: +55 (91) 3217-6132


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