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Head deep into the Amazon to search for one of South America’s rare and rather unknown monkey. Human hunting and destruction of habitat has seen this unusual species become vulnerable to extinction.

The Amazon’s Bald Uakari

By: Mike Jerrard


Uakari Photo by : linwecarindo (as seen in featured image)

Species Profile: Bald Uakari: cacajao calvus


This small Amazonian monkey has a shaggy red orange coat with a bare red face resembling that of a Marvel villain. Its reddish face signals good health and makes it more attractive to possible mates.

Where to Find:

  • Western Amazon in the countries of Brazil and Peru
  • Sierras de Contamana
  • Mamiraua and Teiu Lakes
  • Yavari and Yavari Mirim Rivers
  • Upper Tapiche River

Conservation Status:

Having decreased by nearly 30% over the past decades, the Bald Uakari has been sadly downgraded to vulnerable from near threatened due to the usual causes of rainforest animal declines, habitat destruction, hunting, and the pet trade.
Photo By: Aaron Martin

Interesting Facts: 

  • Their name is pronounced “wakari
  • Live in communal groups up to 100 individuals
  • Susceptible to malaria which will show via paleness in their otherwise healthy bright red face
  • Unlike other New World monkeys they have rather short tails
  • Their strong jaws allow them to crack even extremely tough Brazil nuts
  • Red faces caused by a thin epidermis, lack of melanin pigments, and large amount of vascular capillaries

If you enjoyed reading these interested facts, you can find many more incredible facts on FactRetriever.


  1. What amazing creatures. It is such a shame that the growth in our own human civilisation could result in these beautiful creatures being endangered. Were you able to see them up close, Mike? I can’t imagine what they would have been like with their 100 friends! Oh, and I was calling it “ooh-ar-kari” before I read your pronunciation guide, haha!

    • Aren’t they! Yes, it’s incredibly tragic that our ever growing presence as a human race is wiping out so many beautiful species – I just hope and pray that we can save them and similar endangered wildlife from extinction.

      Mike spent a couple of weeks in the Peruvian Amazon, and these were among the most unique sightings! Haha glad we could help out on the pronunciation – it’s a tricky one!

  2. You had me when you compared their appearance to a Marvel villain :) in all seriousness, it’s always heartbreaking to read about species that are being threatened by our ever-growing encroachment into their territory. Things like this are reasons why we make a point of being eco tourists – for people who don’t understand anymore more than money, make it more lucrative to have these landscapes and creatures wild and alive than on a wall somewhere. Thank you for sharing your experiences with these incredibly unique creatures!

    • Haha they do look like they would star in one of those movies don’t they! But yes, it’s so heartbreaking that our behavior as a race is wiping our theirs.

      So glad to hear that you’ve adopted a focus on ecotourism and traveling responsibly. All it takes is small changes in habits from every traveler, and if everyone made a small change, it would combine to be a huge impact.

      Glad you enjoyed the post – happy travels!

  3. Such beautiful creatures! Wish I had seen them during my time in the Brazilian Amazon. I’m sure it would have been stunning seeing them, especially if they’re in a group of 100! So sad to hear that they are near-threatened now though. I wonder if there are any foundations dedicated to saving them…

    • Just means you have a fabulous excuse to plan a second trip :D! I haven’t come across foundations which have been set up solely for this guy, but you can find them across a number of sanctuaries in each region. Will keep you updated if I hear of anything :)

  4. I’ve never seen a monkey with that color. They look so cute! What a way to attract mates, huh? I’ve been to both Brazil and Peru, too bad I never got to go to the Amazon. I hope their population doesn’t decrease further. Poor cuties.

    • Glad we could introduce you! If you do have the chance to head back to South America, we had an absolutely amazing time in the Amazon, and I can highly recommend the experience.

      Hoping their population takes a turn and starts to thrive too.

  5. Very interested; I have never seen or heard about this species of monkeys. Of course I haven’t been to the amazon but would love to go sometime. Thanks for this enlightening post.

    • Glad we could introduce you Medha! I hope you do have the chance to visit the Amazon in the future – it’s such an incredible ecosystem, and one of the highlights of the travel adventures we’ve taken in our time!

  6. That is something new to me. I never knew monkeys known as Bald Uakari exists. Look at their red face, clearly shows thin epidermis; lack of melatonin pigments and high vascularity. Facts about them are so interesting. But equally sad their no is decreasing because of increasing civilisation and encroachment in their habitats.

    • Glad we could introduce you Suruchi, yes they’re in a very dangerous position of completely disappearing in future. Which would be a tragedy – it’s sad that our behavior as a human race is wiping out some of the planet’s most unique and interesting creatures.

  7. I hadn’t heard of the Bald Uakari monkey previously – thank you for the introduction! It’s certainly a unique creature with such a vivid red face. It sounds like they’ve adapted to their environment in many ways – cracking Brazil nuts is tough! – but I’m saddened to read that they are vulnerable in the wild due to the usual suspects of humans and habitat loss. It’s hard to stomach how much damage we do as a species, isn’t it?

    • Glad we could introduce you Claudia! They’re such a fascinating species – but hopefully they manage to come back from decline. It really is hard to stomach that our existence is unnecessarily ruining theirs :(

  8. I havent heard of this monkey specie before. Now I believe we descend from monkeys ;)! Seriously speaking though, this is amazing! I don’t like monkeys but this is something that I would like to see in person.

    • Glad we could introduce you! Haha yes definitely looks like me after a bit of time in the sun :D

      Hope you have the chance to visit the Amazon and spend some time with these guys sometime!

  9. Wow I never knew these types of monkeys existed. They do have a Marvel villain look about them. Sad that so many people do terrible things to not only hurt them, but their environment. I would really like to see Peru and Brazil soon. Hopefully I catch a glimpse of one when I do.

    • Seems to be a theme, we’re hearing from a lot of people who hadn’t heard of this guy before – glad we could introduce everybody!

      Yes, it’s horrific that irresponsible human behavior is resulting in this species decline. I do hope you have the chance to visit the Amazon at some point, and it would be great to support the sanctuaries who work to protect the local wildlife :)

  10. It’s so saddening to read about animals who are threatened due to human activity, and this is happening more and more these days. Especially pet trade…disgusts me so much :(

    Bald Uakari are beautiful, but then maybe that’s the reason we hunt them, coupled with our greed for land…

    • I agree – the pet trade is one of the most disgusting industries – so many species have fallen victim to it. There is no excuse for taking a native animal out of it’s wild setting and putting it in a cage for our amusement. And the demand for this market is wiping out entire species in the process.

      Yes, the Bald Uakari are beautiful creatures – who knows, maybe that’s a curse.

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