Animals & Attractions

Here at Edinburgh Zoo, we have small group yellow-breasted capuchins consisting of five females and four males.

Location in the zoo

One pair can be found in the Monkey House, the other group are located near the sun bears.

Breeding Programme Category

The yellow-breasted capuchins are part of the European Endangered Species programme. 

In the wild

Yellow-breasted capuchins (Cebus apella xanthosternos) are highly social and intelligent.  They are restricted to the very fragmented Atlantic rainforest in Brazil. They are mostly brown and black in colour; however, from their upper arms and down across the chest and stomach they are covered in golden yellow fur—hence their name.

Although similar in appearance, males of this species are larger than females.   Yellow-breasted capuchins live in groups of up to thirty individuals made up of both males and females.  Spending the majority of their time in the trees, these capuchins stay in touch by communicating vocally with each other using barks, growls, screams, whistles and chattering.

Yellow breasted capuchins have a mixed diet of chicks, eggs, flowers, fruit, insects, leaves, nectar, nuts, seeds, shoots, and spiders. To break the shells of nuts, they will smash two together or strike them against branches.

Yellow-breasted capuchins have lost over 80 percent of their population over the past 48 years.  It is estimated that only about 300 individuals survive in the wild, giving the yellow-breasted capuchin an unenviable place in the top 25 most endangered primates in the world.  This is due to being hunted by humans as well as extensive habitat loss throughout its range.

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