Goeldi's Monkey Fact File

Callimico goeldii

Credit: Andrea Skerlavaj, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons








Wild 10 years

Captive 10 years



Fungi, Insects, Fruit

Conservation Status



The goeldi's monkey is a small species of primate which is found in the forests of South America.

They are omnivores and one of the only species of small primate in South America recorded as eating considerable amounts of fungi. They also feed on fruit, insects, sap and gum.

Females give birth to only a single young unlike most tamarins and marmosets which give birth to two. Males and older siblings of the infants will share the duty of carrying it.

These primates are under threat from habitat destruction and collection for food and the pet trade.

Read on to learn more about these magnificent mammals.


What does the Goeldi's Monkey look like?

The fur across the entire body of the goeldi's monkey is black. Around the face and on the neck they have a cape of long black hairs. Their face features a bare patch of skin around the face.

Their body ends with a long tail which measures 26-32cm (10-12.5in) long. At the base of the tail are pale rings and buff markings are present on the back of the neck. The tail is not prehensile.

Each of their digits feature a small claw instead of a fingernail except for the second toe.

An average goeldi's monkey will measure 22-23cm (9in) long with a weight between 390 and 860g (13.75 and 30.25oz). Females and males are similar in size.


What does the Goeldi's Monkey eat?

Goeldi's monkey is an omnivore. Their diet includes fruit, invertebrates, fungi and exudates. Fungi are considered to be the main portion of their diet.

Much of their foraging takes place in the lower parts of the forest within 5m (16.4ft) of the forest floor. They will descend to the forest floor to seek out arthropods among the leaf litter.

They will bite bark with their incisor teeth to make the gum and sap flow from it.

These primates play an important role in the ecosystem by dispersing seeds through the ecosystem.

Goeldi's Monkey

Credit: Marcel Burkhard, CC BY-SA 2.0 DE <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/de/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons


Where can you find the Goeldi's Monkey?

South America is the native home of the goeldi's monkey. Here they can be found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Peru. Over 75% of the range covers Peru.

While their range covers a large area their distribution within this area is patchy.


What kind of environment does the Goeldi's Monkey live in?

Goeldi's monkey is found in forests. Their diet means they require dense vegetation to live in. They preference forest with a broken canopy which allows light to reach the forest floor so undergrowth can grow.

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How does the Goeldi's Monkey produce its young?

Mating takes place during the wet season from September to November.

Females give birth to a single offspring. Most females only produce once per year but some have two litters. At birth they weigh 45-66g (1.6-2.3oz).

All members of the group will help with carrying the young after the first 10 or so days. They carry the young but return it to the mother to feed.

Maturity is reached before two years old with females maturing before males. Young remain in their groups to help raise the next littler learning essential skills to raise their own young.


What does the Goeldi's Monkey do with its day?

Goeldi's monkey will live in a group with up to 12 members. These may include more than one female who breeds unlike most other species of callitrichids.

At night the group will rest together. They nest in dense undergrowth or within a tree hollow.

To strengthen the social ties within the group they will groom one another.

These animals are arboreal and spend much of their time in the trees. They are strong leapers to help them move between trees. In a single leap they cover distances of up to 4m (13ft).

Goeldi's monkey is active during the day. Groups will move together feeding but take regular breaks to sunbathe and groom one another. They may form mixed groups with other tamarin species such as the saddleback and moustached tamarins.

They will communicate through vocalizations, scent marking and their body language. Their long distance calls may travel for up to 100m (328ft).

Goeldi's Monkey

Credit: Malene Thyssen (User Malene), CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the Goeldi's Monkey?

Natureal predators of the goeldi's monkey include bush dogs, coatis, tayra, cats such as the puma, snakes and birds of prey.

The population of the goeldi's monkey is believed to be decreasing in population. They are considered rare across most of their range and have a patchy distribution.

Threats faced by the goeldi's monkey include deforestation across much of their range for illegal crops and timber extraction. The building of highways through their habitat both removes habitat and can fragment populations.

They are often seen in markets for sale as both food and pets.

Quick facts

The goeldi's monkey is also known as goeldi's marmoset or the callimicos.

Their name comes from the Swiss zoologist, Emil August Goeldi a professor working in South America.

These animals differ from similar species in their family as they have wisdom teeth. They are the only small new world monkey to have 36 teeth with all other marmosets and tamarins having 32.

Goeldi's Monkey

Credit: _paVan_ from Singapore, Singapore, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK

Jackson, T. and Chinery, M., 2012. The illustrated encyclopedia of animals of the world. London: Southwater.

Palacios, E., Wallace, R.B., Mollinedo, J.M., Heymann, E.W., Shanee, S., Calouro, A.M., del Valle, E. & Mittermeier, R.A. 2021. Callimico goeldii (amended version of 2020 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T3564A191700340. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-1.RLTS.T3564A191700340.en. Downloaded on 20 September 2021.

Idahofallsidaho.gov. 2021. Goeldi’s Monkey (Callimico). [online] Available at: <https://www.idahofallsidaho.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5048/Goeldis-Monkey> [Accessed 20 September 2021].

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo. 2021. Goeldi’s Monkey. [online] Available at: <https://www.beardsleyzoo.org/goeldirsquos-monkey.html> [Accessed 20 September 2021].

The Living Rainforest. 2021. Goeldi's monkey - The Living Rainforest. [online] Available at: <https://livingrainforest.org/learning-resources/goeldis-monkey> [Accessed 20 September 2021].

Downey, K., 2021. Goeldi's Monkey. [online] New England Primate Conservancy. Available at: <https://www.neprimateconservancy.org/goeldis-monkey.html> [Accessed 20 September 2021].

Zoobarcelona.cat. 2021. Goeldi's monkey. [online] Available at: <https://www.zoobarcelona.cat/en/animals/goeldis-monkey> [Accessed 20 September 2021].

Smithsonian's National Zoo. 2021. Goeldi's monkey. [online] Available at: <https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/goeldis-monkey> [Accessed 20 September 2021].

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