Camera Trap: The Howler Monkey

Howler monkey

The Fascinating World of Latin America's Howler Monkeys

Deep in the tropical forests of Central and South America, dwells a creature characterized by one of the most potent calls in the animal kingdom: the howler monkey. With their distinctive howl, which can resonate up to 4 kilometers through the thick green canopy, these primates stand out as one of the region’s most iconic and fascinating beings.

Belonging to the atelid family, the howler monkey (Alouatta) presents a remarkable diversity, with up to nine recognized variants. Each of these subspecies possesses unique characteristics, specific adaptations to their environment, and behavior patterns that set them apart.

CCC's WARG Camera Trap, Alouatta puruensis - All rights reserved

Distribution and Habitat

Howler monkeys are native to Latin America and can be found in a wide swath depending on their variant, stretching from southern Mexico to northern Argentina, encompassing countries such as Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil. Their distribution is mainly limited to tropical and subtropical rainforests, where they inhabit the upper foliage of trees, where they spend most of their time moving between the treetops.

Features & Dimensions

These primates exhibit marked sexual dimorphism in terms of size and weight. Males tend to be larger and heavier than females. On average, adult males can reach a weight of up to 9 to 10 kilograms, with a length ranging from 50 to 75 centimeters, not including the tail, which can measure up to an additional 80 centimeters. On the other hand, females usually weigh around 6 to 7 kilograms and have a total length of 40 to 60 centimeters, excluding the tail.


  • Powerful Howl: The howl of howler monkeys is one of the most distinctive features of this species. Its roar, produced by a special structure in its throat, can travel great distances through the forest and can be heard up to 4 kilometers away. This howl not only serves to communicate with other members of their group, but also marks their territory, warns of potential dangers, and facilitates social cohesion within the herd. Sadly, this feature has made howler monkeys a target for hunters who can easily identify them.
  • Conservation Status: Despite being protected in extensive national parks, howler monkeys face a serious threat in their natural habitat. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, they are listed as a vulnerable species. This species is endangered due to illegal hunting and habitat loss due to deforestation. It is estimated that the population has declined by more than 30% in the last 30 years.
  • Herbivorous diet: Unlike other primates, howler monkeys are primarily herbivores. They feed primarily on leaves, tender shoots, ripe fruits, and flowers. Their digestive system is specially adapted to process large amounts of low-quality plant material, allowing them to survive in an environment where food resources can be scarce.
  • Prehensile Tail: One of the most notable adaptations of howler monkeys is their prehensile tail. This long, strong tail serves as a fifth limb, allowing them to hold on tightly to branches as they move through the forest canopy. In addition to aiding them in locomotion, they also use their tail to manipulate objects and grasp food, demonstrating remarkable dexterity and coordination.
  • Tree nap: Howler monkeys are known for their habit of spending long periods of time resting and sleeping. It is estimated that they spend up to 80% of their daytime resting, taking advantage of the hottest hours of the day to sleep among the branches of the trees. This strategy allows them to conserve energy and avoid activity during the most intense hours of heat, when predators are most active.
  • Importance in Seed Distribution: Howler monkeys play a crucial role in seed dispersal in tropical forests. As fruit consumers, they ingest whole seeds and disperse them through their feces in different areas of the forest. This process contributes to the regeneration and diversity of vegetation, promoting the health and resilience of the forest ecosystem.
Howler Monkey
Alouatta seniculus/puruensis - Unkown - Some rights reserved

The Howler Monkey, a resident of our Western Amazon project

In our commitment to biodiversity conservation, the Howler Monkey holds a special place in our WARG project.

Since 2019, we have dedicated ourselves to protecting more than 50,000 hectares of native forest in the Amazon region through the Western Amazon Grouped REDD+ project. Our work focuses on developing effective strategies to curb the expansion of unsustainable agriculture, a serious threat to the habitat of this species.

Thanks to the use of camera traps, we are able to identify and monitor the populations of howler monkeys that inhabit the forest, which contributes significantly to their protection. Contributing to the Western Amazon project means ensuring that these primates have the space necessary for their well-being and survival.

Find out how you can support the WARG project and join our conservation mission here. Your contribution makes a difference in the preservation of wildlife and ecosystems in the Western Amazon.

Howler Monkey (Alouatta puruensis) sighted in the Western Amazon REDD+ Grouped Project WARG by Carbon Credits Consulting © All rights reserved.
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