51 of the Most Colorful Monkeys and Apes in the World

As primates, humans are pretty closely related to apes and monkeys. But while we may include plenty of color in our wardrobes to stand out, many monkeys and apes are strikingly eye-catching all on their own.

Here’s our list of the world’s most colorful monkeys and apes:

1. Red-Shanked Douc

Red-shanked douc in wildlife reserve in Thailand.
  • Latin name: Pygathrix nemaeus
  • Habitat: Forested areas of Indochina, Vietnam, Laos, and possibly Cambodia
  • Size: Males are about 24 pounds; females are about 18.6 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly leaves that are high in fiber
  • Colorful feature: These beautiful, colorful monkeys almost don’t look real. They are named for their bright red legs, but they also have sunny yellow faces and bodies that look airbrushed with gray and white.

The red-shanked douc is sometimes called the “queen of the primates” thanks to its incredibly beautiful colors. It spends most of its time eating and sleeping in the trees, although it sometimes comes down to drink water. Like people, it usually will communicate with facial expressions. Unfortunately, this species is critically endangered. Much of the population decline is due to hunting, although some of it is due to habitat destruction.

2. Black-Capped Squirrel Monkey

Two black-capped squirrel monkeys.
  • Latin name: Saimiri boliviensis
  • Habitat: Tropical forests in Bolivia and parts of Peru and Brazil
  • Size: Males about 1-2.5 pounds; females from 0.8-1.6 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly insects, smaller vertebrates, fruits, eggs, leaves, flowers, seeds, and nuts
  • Colorful feature: These colorful monkeys have dark black “caps” as indicated by the name. However, their legs and chests range from a buff gold color to bright yellow like the monkey in the photo.

These monkeys are some of the smallest on the list. And unlike many types of monkeys and apes, they form female-led troops. Most female monkeys stay with the troop they were born in. And in a departure from the behavior of many members of the animal kingdom, this species also usually shows a good bit of aggression between females.

3. Zanzibar Red Colobus

Zanzibar Red Colobus in tree.
  • Latin name: Procolobus kirkii
  • Habitat: Some forested areas on the island of Unguja in Zanzibar
  • Size: Males up to 26 pounds; females up to 22 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly leaves, although they also eat shoots, seeds, flowers, and fruit
  • Colorful feature: These unusual-looking monkeys have long coats that are often a mix of reddish brown, black, and white.

The Zanzibar red colobus has a smallish head surrounded by a shock of hair. That feature combined with its bright coat makes it one of the most distinctive monkeys on the list. It’s also somewhat unusual in that it has either no opposable thumbs or very short thumbs. Rather, it has four long fingers that let it form a hook-like grasp on tree limbs. Unfortunately, like many other colorful monkeys on the list, the Zanzibar red colobus is currently classified as an endangered species.

4. Mandrill

Close-up portrait of a mandrill monkey showing its teeth.
  • Latin name: Mandrillus sphinx
  • Habitat: Tropical rainforests in the Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea
  • Size: Males are about 71 pounds on average; females are about 27 pounds
  • Diet: Various vertebrates and invertebrates, fruit, leaves, seeds, and flowers
  • Colorful feature: Most people consider the mandrill to be the most colorful monkey in the world. The males have faces that are blue, red, pink, and purple. And while their bodies are a dull olive brown, they have bright yellow “beards.”

Even if you aren’t a monkey expert, you’ve probably seen a mandrill at least once or twice. Charles Darwin even wrote about their spectacular color: “no other member of the whole class of mammals is colored in so extraordinary a manner as the adult male mandrill.” You might wonder where the blue coloring in the face comes from. No mammal has actual blue pigmentation, but the color comes from blue structural coloration in collagen fibers.  

5. Red-Bellied Titi

Red-Bellied Titi mother and her baby in a tree.
  • Latin name: Callicebus moloch
  • Habitat: Forested and thicketed areas in Brazil
  • Size: Males up to 2.65 pounds; females up to 2.25 pounds
  • Diet: Primarily fruits, figs, leaves, and insects
  • Colorful feature: These smallish monkeys have bright red-brown bellies although the coloration of their backs can vary somewhat. They have an especially striking halo of hair surrounding their dark faces.

In this monkey species, the males are much more involved in the rearing of their young. Even though female red-bellied titis give birth to and nurse the young, males carry and tend to the babies at virtually all other times. These monkeys live in close-knit groups, and adult males and babies maintain close relationships even after the young monkeys are able to move on their own.

6. Gee’s Golden Langur

Gee's Golden Langur looking at a camera.
  • Latin name: Trachypithecus geei
  • Habitat: Forested areas in Bhutan and Western Assam, India
  • Size: Males are 24 pounds on average; females are 21 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly fruits, seeds, leaves, and flowers
  • Colorful feature: These unusual monkeys have flowing golden coats that resemble the coat of a golden retriever. The relatively pale coat contrasts sharply with the small, dark face. The males tend to be a darker, golden color, while females and younger monkeys are a pale color closer to cream.

This monkey has been considered sacred by some people in the Himalayas for centuries. However, those in the Western world did not learn of it until relatively recently. Edward Pritchard Gee, a naturalist, only introduced it to the West in the 1950s. Gee is referenced in this monkey’s scientific name. Unfortunately, it is classified as an endangered species.

7. Pied Tamarin

Pied tamarin against white background.
  • Latin name: Saguinus bicolor
  • Habitat: Rainforest in a small part of the Amazon
  • Size: Slightly less than 1 pound
  • Diet: Small vertebrates, insects, eggs, fruit, nectar, and flowers
  • Colorful feature: This small yet colorful monkey has a coat patched with white and brown. It has a distinctive hairless black face with large and oddly-shaped ears.

The pied tamarin is one of the critically endangered species on the list. It has the misfortune of being threatened from a variety of angles: its natural range is already small, it is being displaced by the red-handed tamarin, and its habitat has been substantially reduced by deforestation.

8. Southern White-Cheeked Gibbon

Close-up of Southern White-Cheeked Gibbon.
  • Latin name: Nomascus siki
  • Habitat: Forested areas in parts of Vietnam and Laos
  • Size: Usually about 15-20 pounds
  • Diet: Primarily fruits, nuts, and seeds
  • Colorful feature: This monkey species has dramatic sexual dimorphism when it comes to coloration. Males are black with striking white cheeks, while females are more of a brownish tan color. As you can see from the picture, females have black faces with a thin white outline.

This unique monkey species is currently classified as being critically endangered. Logging and other types of habitat encroachment have led to its rapid population decline; some experts estimate that its population has decreased by 50% in the last 45 years. It is protected legally in much of its natural range, although its protected status is not always enforced.

9. Bornean Orangutan

Bornean orangutan in forest.
  • Latin name: Pongo pygmaeus
  • Habitat: Forested regions in both lowland and mountainous Borneo
  • Size: Males are 165 pounds on average; females are 85 pounds
  • Diet: Fruit, seeds, insects, nectar, leaves, bird eggs, and other foods
  • Colorful feature: These large, intelligent apes have long, silky coats that are usually between chestnut brown and very deep reddish brown. Males have broad, dark face pads that widen with age.

Not everyone knows that there are multiple types of orangutans. This one is native to Borneo. Even though it isn’t preyed upon by large animals, it is critically endangered due to habitat destruction and hunting. Like other large apes, this one is incredibly intelligent and has been known to use tools for a variety of tasks. It has even been observed carrying bundles of branches it uses like umbrellas!

10. Gelada

The male Gelada in Simien Mountains of Ethiopia.
  • Latin name: Theropithecus gelada
  • Habitat: Grasslands in central Ethiopia
  • Size: Males are 41 pounds on average; females are 24 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly grass, although they will eat other plant matter as well.
  • Colorful feature: At first glance, this monkey doesn’t look too colorful, as it’s usually dull brown. However, males have a bright red patch of skin on the chest that is shaped like an hourglass. Females have a similar patch that is less bright.

The gelada is also sometimes called the “bleeding heart monkey” thanks to the bright red chest patch. Though females have a duller patch, it turns bright red and swells with blister-like spots during estrus. These monkeys are very social and tend to live in smaller reproductive units that sometimes combine to form larger “herds.”

11. Cotton-Top Tamarin

Cotton-Top Tamarin hanging onto branch.
  • Latin name: Saguinus oedipus
  • Habitat: Forested areas in parts of Colombia
  • Size: Usually less than 1 pound
  • Diet: Mostly insects and plant matter
  • Colorful feature: Though there are many different tamarin species, the cotton-top tamarin just might be the easiest to recognize. It has a large white tuft of hair from the forehead to the shoulders.

This tiny monkey species is critically endangered in its natural habitat. Before 1976, tens of thousands of these monkeys were exported for use in medical research. Though it has been protected since 1976, the species now faces a significant threat due to the destruction of its habitat. In northwestern Colombia, experts estimate that the cotton-top tamarin’s range is 5% of what it used to be.

12. Diademed Sifaka

Close-up of Diademed Sifaka.
  • Latin name: Propithecus diadema
  • Habitat: Lowland forests in eastern Madagascar
  • Size: About 14 pounds on average
  • Diet: Various types of plants, fruits, flowers, leaves, and nectar
  • Colorful feature: This truly remarkable species has a grayish back, and the face is surrounded by a ruff of white fur. Its most striking colorful feature is the yellow-gold coloring on its arms and legs.

This large, beautiful lemur is much more athletic than it looks. It is capable of jumping and moving through the air at over 18 miles per hour. It eats a huge variety of plant matter throughout the day, and some scientists believe its athletic capabilities are propelled by the large number of alkaloids in its diet.

13. Common Marmoset

Common Marmoset in tall grass.
  • Latin name: Callithrix jacchus
  • Habitat: Coastal forests in northeastern Brazil
  • Size: Males are about 9 ounces; females are about 8 ounces
  • Diet: Mostly insects and plant exudates
  • Colorful feature: These monkeys have especially distinctive patterning. Their agouti coats are gray-brown, and they have two tufts of bright white hair on either side of the face. Their tails have black banding.

Unlike many species on the list, these tiny monkeys have actually expanded their range over time. They are not classified as being threatened or endangered. Common marmosets live in family groups of up to 15. However, only some members are allowed to breed. Within these family groups, there is a surprisingly complex social structure. And while many monkey species leave their family groups once they become adolescents, common marmosets don’t leave the group until they reach adulthood.

14. Pygmy Marmoset

Pygmy marmoset sitting on a branch in its habitat.
  • Latin name: Cebuella genus
  • Habitat: Various parts of the western Amazon Basin; exact range depends on the exact species
  • Size: About 3.5 ounces
  • Diet: Almost entirely tree gum
  • Colorful feature: These very tiny monkeys have eye-catching coloration. Their coats are usually agouti, with their heads and chests being reddish and the lower body being closer to grayish brown. There are often orangish patches on the darker portion of the coat.

The term “pygmy marmoset” refers to a few species in the genus Cebuella. Members of this genus are among the smallest primates, as they are usually under 4 ounces! Interestingly enough, baby pygmy marmosets develop their ability to vocalize much like human babies do. Infant pygmy marmosets will babble until they develop the ability to vocalize as adults do.

15. Golden-Mantled Howler Monkey

Mother howler walking on a tree branch with her baby hanging on.
  • Latin name: Alouatta palliata palliata
  • Habitat: Forested areas in many parts of Central America
  • Size: Up to about 22 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly leaves
  • Colorful feature: Despite the name, the “mantle” of colorful fur on this monkey is more of a reddish color than it is gold. Still, it forms a striking contrast with this monkey’s otherwise black coat.

This species and other types of howler monkeys are named for their loud, howling calls that can be heard through the forest. Males have a large hyoid bone that amplifies their calls. There’s a reason howler monkeys rely on vocalizing to locate one another: they largely eat leaves and consequently don’t have much expendable energy. They rest for much of the day to conserve energy, and the loud calls let them locate one another without needing to spend energy searching for one another.

16. Hooded Capuchin

Photo of a Capuchin monkey in the middle of the forest.
  • Latin name: Sapajus cay
  • Habitat: Forested areas in parts of Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay
  • Size: Usually between 6 and 8 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly fruits, seeds, insects, and small vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: True to the name, the hooded capuchin has a little “hood” of dark fur atop its head. Its coloring is a lot like point coloring in some types of cats; its body is buff in color, while the hood, arms, legs, and tail are a deep seal brown.

The hooded capuchin is one of many colorful types of capuchins on the list. However, you may have noticed that it looks a lot different from some of the other capuchin species. That’s because it’s classed as a “robust capuchin.” These monkeys are generally sturdier-looking than the smaller “gracile capuchins.” Robust capuchins fall under the genus Sapajus, while gracile capuchins are in the genus Cebus.

17. Wolf’s Guenon

Cute looking Wolf's mona monkey portrait close up
  • Latin name: Cercopithecus wolfi
  • Habitat: Swamp forests and lowland rain forests in central Africa
  • Size: Males are about 10 pounds; females are about 5.5 pounds
  • Diet: Largely fruit, although it will also eat seeds, nuts, and insects
  • Colorful feature: This unique monkey species is a dark gray back. Its yellow sides and belly form a sharp contrast with the rest of its body, as do its yellow ear tufts. Its legs are often brown or rust-colored.

The guenon monkeys aren’t as widely known as some other types of monkeys, but they are among the most colorful. This one has patches of color that are reminiscent of the red-shanked douc. Unlike some other primate species, this one will often interact with various other primate species. Some experts believe that monkeys form these loose social associations in order to better detect predators.

18. Celebes Crested Macaque

Close-up of Celebes Crested Macaque.
  • Latin name: Macaca nigra
  • Habitat: Rainforests in parts of Sulawesi, Indonesia, and some surrounding islands
  • Size: Usually between 8 pounds and 23 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly fruit, although it will also eat leaves, invertebrates, eggs, and smaller vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: This very distinctive species is primarily jet black. However, its red-brown eyes make it stand out from many other primate species. Males in particular usually have some mixture of white or gray hairs that give it a roan-like appearance.

Unlike many species of smaller monkeys, the Celebes crested macaque doesn’t spend most of its time in trees. It usually lives about 60% of its life on the ground. These monkeys featured prominently in legal disputes surrounding “monkey selfies,” too: a British nature photographer set up photography equipment so that macaques may be able to use it to take photos of themselves. The photographer argued that he should have copyright. Other organizations claimed the photos were in the public domain because the creators were not human. Still other organizations claimed the copyright should belong to the monkeys themselves.

19. Red-Tailed Monkey

Close-up of Red-Tailed Monkey.
  • Latin name: Cercopithecus ascanius
  • Habitat: Forested areas of parts of west-central Africa
  • Size: Males are between 7 and 10 pounds; females are between 6 and 8 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly fruit, but they also will eat flowers, leaves, and insects if needed
  • Colorful feature: These monkeys are named for their long, deep red-brown tails. The color of their bodies varies considerably; the rest of the body is usually black, gray, red, or orange.

Since red-tailed monkeys often forage for food, they have a special adaptation that lets them gather as much as possible. They have elastic “pouches” in the cheeks that can expand to hold fruit and other types of food while foraging. Their tails can be up to twice the length of their bodies and are mostly used to help the monkeys balance.

20. Red-Handed Tamarin

Two Red-Handed Tamarins looking at camera.
  • Latin name: Saguinus midas
  • Habitat: Forested areas north of the Amazon River
  • Size: Usually between 0.88 and 1.21 pounds
  • Diet: Fruit, plant exudates, leaves, flowers, eggs, insects, and small vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: This monkey’s name can be a little confusing, as its hands look more yellow than red! It’s also sometimes called the “golden-handed tamarin” or the “Midas tamarin” for its golden-yellow hands and feet.

Because of its small size, the red-handed tamarin is susceptible to predators including domestic cats. But since it travels in groups of up to 15, it uses a cooperative defense strategy. If one individual is threatened by a predator, the others will attack in its defense. In order to forage and protect itself from predators, it spends much of its time in trees.

21. Angolan Colubus

Adult Angolan colobus and baby.
  • Latin name: Colobus angolensis
  • Habitat: Rainforests in the Congo Basin and surrounding areas
  • Size: About 20 to 44 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly leaves, although they also eat fruit and seeds
  • Colorful feature: At first glance, this monkey looks a little like the mantled guereza mentioned below. Its coat is jet black with longer white hair framing the face and falling along the shoulders.

These distinctive-looking monkeys form some of the largest groups of any monkey species. While many types of monkeys travel in groups of around 20 or less, the Angolan colobus forms troops that often include hundreds. Interestingly enough, even though the name references the country of Angola, this monkey is rarely found there. It is currently classified as being near threatened.

22. Collared Mangabey

Collared Mangabey with baby.
  • Latin name: Cercocebus torquatus
  • Habitat: Various types of forests in the Atlantic coastal region of Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon
  • Size: Males are about 20-22 pounds; females are about 17-19 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly fruits and seeds, though it will also eat various types of plant matter, invertebrates, tree gum, and dung
  • Colorful feature: You might sometimes hear this species described as the “red-capped mangabey.” That’s because it has a distinctive red-brown patch at the top of the head. The “collared” in its other common name references the whitish patch of fur around the neck.

Like many other monkey species, this one travels in groups and uses a variety of vocalizations to signal locations. The collared mangabey will mostly bark and cackle. It is classified as an endangered species and is threatened by habitat destruction. It is also hunted for bushmeat by local people.

23. Golden-Bellied Capuchin

Close-up of Golden-Bellied Capuchin.
  • Latin name: Sapajus xanthosternos
  • Habitat: Atlantic coastal forests of Bahia, Brazil
  • Size: Males are usually about 9 pounds; females are about 6 pounds
  • Diet: Various types of plant matter, insects, eggs, and smaller vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: Colors may vary somewhat between individual monkeys. However, the golden-bellied capuchin almost always has a gold or yellow chest, belly, and upper arms. The rest of its body is usually a comparatively dull grayish brown.

This colorful monkey has one of the smallest ranges on the list. It also engages in territory-marking behavior much more than other monkey species. It has a unique way of doing so; it will use “urine washing.” This means that it covers itself in its own urine so the scent travels with it to mark its territory.

24. Venezuelan Red Howler

Mantled howler (Alouatta seniculus) resting in a tree.
  • Latin name: Alouatta seniculus
  • Habitat: Forested parts of the western Amazon Basin
  • Size: Males are up to about 20 pounds; females are up to about 15 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly leaves, although they also eat other plant matter and sometimes small animals
  • Colorful feature: These monkeys are some of the brightest of the howler monkeys. They are a red-brown color that is similar to that of an orangutan. However, the back is usually a lighter red brown than the rest of the body.

These monkeys are often violent and competitive. Since there is an uneven sex ratio of Venezuelan red howlers, males will fight each other for females. Sexually mature males will leave the group they were born into. But in order to form a new family group, they will invade a separate group and kill the leader and all of his offspring.

25. Javan Lutung

Close-up of Javan Lutung.
  • Latin name: Trachypithecus auratus
  • Habitat: Forested areas in Java and surrounding islands
  • Size: Around 15 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly various types of plant matter, but it also will eat larvae
  • Colorful feature: Many of these distinctive monkeys are black. However, the one in the picture is a comparatively rare light morph. As you can see, it is reddish brown with some light hairs mixed in.

This monkey is somewhat unique in that it has multiple color morphs. The word “auratus” in its scientific name means “golden,” but the primary color morph is black. The scientific name refers to the golden-brown morph. All juvenile Javan lutungs are this color, but the light morph does not lose this coloration as an adult.

26. Golden Lion Tamarin

Golden lion tamarin.
  • Latin name: Leontopithecus rosalia
  • Habitat: Atlantic coastal forests in Brazil
  • Size: About 1.37 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly fruit, flowers, insects, bird eggs, nectar, and smaller vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: True to the name, the golden lion tamarin has a beautiful, silky golden coat. Its whole body is the same color except for the head, hands, and feet, all of which are hairless.

This small monkey is probably the most famous of the tamarins. Though it is an endangered species in its natural habitat, you can frequently find it in zoos. Experts estimate that there are 3,200 left in the wild. There are about 490 in captivity across the world, although that population is dispersed among 150 zoos.

27. Golden-Crowned Sifaka

Golden-Crowned Sifaka hanging from branch.
  • Latin name: Propithecus tattersalli
  • Habitat: Forested areas across a small range in northeastern Madagascar
  • Size: About 7.7 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly seeds, though it also eats fruit, leaves, flowers, and fruit pulp
  • Colorful feature: This graceful monkey is typically a creamy white in color. Its most noticeable feature is its bold, golden “crown” of fur at the top of its head. Its large, intense eyes are a similar golden-crowned color.

The golden-crowned sifaka is one of the more recent discoveries on the list, at least to the western world. Though a naturalist first saw it in 1974, it took until 1988 for it to be formally described. It is a critically endangered species largely because of habitat destruction and human encroachment. Slash-and-burn agriculture, poaching, habitat destruction, and the fragmentation of forests have all contributed to its decline.

28. Ecuadorian Squirrel Monkey

Ecuadorian Squirrel Monkey.
  • Latin name: Saimiri cassiquiarensis macrodon
  • Habitat: Forests in the western parts of the Brazilian Amazon as well as parts of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru
  • Size: Males are usually between 31.2 and 48.7 ounces; females are between 21 and 41 ounces
  • Diet: Mostly flowers, fruits, nuts, and seeds, although they also eat insects and smaller vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: This monkey has one of the more striking color patterns on the list. Its coat is a pretty gray-brown agouti, and its arms and legs are bright yellow.

Like other squirrel monkeys, this one is very small. It has large, dark eyes that are rimmed in white. Its ears are proportionally large and look a bit like human ears! Notably, it was once considered to be a subspecies of the Guianan squirrel monkey, but it is now considered to be a full species.

29. White-Headed Marmoset

Close-up view of cute callithrix geoffroyi monkey in wildlife.
  • Latin name: Callithrix geoffroyi
  • Habitat: Forested areas in eastern Brazil
  • Size: Males are about 0.5-0.8 pounds; females are about 0.4 pounds
  • Diet: Tree gum, insects, and fruit
  • Colorful feature: The beautifully marbled coat of the white-headed marmoset looks a bit like the fur of a calico cat. Its body has complex patterning of black, white, and orange. It has a circle of white fur around its hairless face, and there are large tufts of black on the sides.

Like other marmoset species on the list, the white-headed marmoset has beautiful coloration. It also has an extremely long tail that is longer than the body. This species is not classified as being threatened or endangered, which is somewhat unusual for species that live in the Amazon.

30. Mantled Guereza

Mantled Guereza resting on branch.
  • Latin name: Colobus guereza
  • Habitat: Various habitats with trees across east and west central Africa
  • Size: Males are between 21 and 30 pounds; females are between 17 and 20 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly high-fiber plant matter
  • Colorful feature: This beautiful monkey is primarily jet black in color. It has two white streaks of long, flowing hair down the back. Thanks to its high-contrast, cape-like coat, it is sometimes hunted for its fur.

You might sometimes hear this monkey called the magistrate colobus thanks to its regal appearance. In addition to its flowing white “mantle” of fire, it also has a face that is framed in white. Both sexes also have a plush black “cap” at the top of the head. There are several subspecies of this beautiful monkey, although many of them look relatively similar.

31. White-Lipped Tamarin

Close-up of White-Lipped Tamarin.
  • Latin name: Saguinus labiatus
  • Habitat: Parts of the Amazon rainforest in Bolivia and Brazil
  • Size: About 12.3 to 17.3 ounces
  • Diet: Primarily fruit, flowers, insects, nectar, spiders, and small vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: These small monkeys are typically black with red bellies. But their most striking feature is the white, mustache-like patch that covers the lips.

This species is sometimes called the red-bellied tamarin. However, its white marking is by far its most noticeable feature. It starts at the nose and extends downward, where it covers the lips in white. The white-lipped tamarin is a highly social monkey. After a mother gives birth, the father is the one that spends the most time carrying the babies. Siblings learn how to be good caretakers by assisting with the care of younger monkeys.

32. White-Faced Saki

White-Faced Saki sitting in tree.
  • Latin name: Pithecia pithecia
  • Habitat: Forested parts of Guyana, French Guiana, Brazil, Venezuela, and Suriname
  • Size: Males are usually between 4 and 5.2 pounds; females are between 3 and 4.1 pounds
  • Diet: Primarily fruits, nuts, seeds and insects
  • Colorful feature: The white-faced saki is another monkey distinguished by a white facial marking. However, it is sexually dimorphic, as only males have the white face. In some individuals, the face is closer to being golden in color. The entire species is also sometimes called the “golden-faced saki.”

This beautiful monkey is one of the longer-living species on the list. While it usually only lives about 14 years in nature, some individuals live to be 36 years old in captivity. They are also highly athletic, as they mainly travel by leaping from tree to tree.

33. Crested Capuchin

Crested Capuchin in a tree.
  • Latin name: Sapajus robustus
  • Habitat: Various forests in a relatively small area of Brazil
  • Size: Usually between 4.4 and 8.4 pounds
  • Diet: Mainly fruit, seeds, frogs, arthropods, and smaller mammals
  • Colorful feature: Though it isn’t especially bright, the crested capuchin has deep, complex coloring. It is usually a rich red-brown with black arms, legs, and tail.

These monkeys look a lot different from many capuchin species, largely because of their large crests. These pointed tufts of fur make the crested capuchin look bigger and more imposing than it is.

34. Gray-Shanked Douc

Two Gray-Shanked Doucs in their habitat.
  • Latin name: Pygathrix cinerea
  • Habitat: Forested parts of a small area of eastern Vietnam
  • Size: Males are about 24 pounds; females are about 18 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly leaves, although they also will eat other types of plant matter
  • Colorful feature: Though these monkeys are largely gray, they have golden orange faces and a necklace-like band of orange. The throat and lower part of the face are a soft white.

Earlier, we mentioned the otherworldly-looking red-shanked douc. The gray-shanked douc looks somewhat similar, although it is a little less bright. It is critically endangered largely due to hunting. Local people will often hunt it for bushmeat and use it in traditional medicine. In particular, gray-shanked doucs are used to make “monkey bone balm,” a substance that is believed to cure a wide range of ailments.

35. White-Throated Guenon

White-throated Monkey in a tree.
  • Latin name: Cercopithecus albogularis
  • Habitat: Various habitats ranging from Ethiopia to South Africa
  • Size: Males are around 6 pounds; females are around 4 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly various types of plant matter, though they also will eat eggs and insects
  • Colorful feature: This lovely monkey has a blue-gray coat with a grizzled cap of fur. It is named for the eye-catching, creamy-white ruff of fur beneath the neck.

This monkey is also called the Sykes’ monkey or the Samango monkey. There are 12 different subspecies stretching across its relatively wide range. Though there are some physical differences across the subspecies, many of them look relatively similar.

36. Geoffroy’s Tamarin

Close-up of Geoffroy's Tamarin.
  • Latin name: Saguinus geoffroyi
  • Habitat: Various types of forests in parts of Panama
  • Size: Males are about 17.1 ounces; females are about 17.9 ounces
  • Diet: Mostly fruit and insects, although it will eat a range of plant matter and plant exudates as well
  • Colorful feature: This species is one of the most colorful tamarin varieties. Its back has a complex pattern of yellow-brown and black. While the nape of its neck is reddish brown, it has a white, mohawk-like crest extending from the forehead to the back of the skull.

You might think that this monkey looks familiar. In the past, some experts classified it as a subspecies of the cotton-top tamarin we described above. More recently, extensive research has revealed that the two are separate species. Currently, this species is classified as being near-threatened.

37. Proboscis Monkey

Portrait of a wild Proboscis Monkey in the rainforest of Borneo.
  • Latin name: Nasalis larvatus
  • Habitat: Mangrove forests and coastal areas on the island of Borneo
  • Size: Males are about 35 to 50 pounds; females are about 21 to 24.4 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly fruit and leaves
  • Colorful feature: If you look at a proboscis monkey, the first thing you’ll probably notice is its long, odd-looking nose. However, it is brightly colored, too. Its coat is a rich golden orange. Its skin is also reddish.

Experts aren’t sure exactly why the proboscis monkey has such a long nose. Some think that sexual selection has played a role in its size. Female proboscis monkeys seem to prefer males with louder calls, and larger noses can make calls louder and more resonant.

38. Emperor Tamarin

Close-up of Emperor Tamarin.
  • Latin name: Saguinus imperator
  • Habitat: Mostly lowland rainforests in the Amazon
  • Size: About 18 ounces
  • Diet: Mostly fruit, flowers, and plant exudates, although they will also consume small animals
  • Colorful feature: These regally-named little monkey’s brightest feature is its mustache. Though the body is dark in color, it has a long white moustache that curls inward under the chin.

This beautiful, unusual-looking monkey was allegedly named for its resemblance to the famous German emperor Wilhelm II. Despite the fact that the emperor tamarin has a relatively small range in the Amazon, it is not currently considered to be threatened or endangered. There are technically two subspecies; the one in the picture is known for having the bold white mustache. The other has a black chin that is much less noticeable. 

39. Bald Uakari

Bald Uakari in the forrest.
  • Latin name: Cacajao calvus
  • Habitat: Forests near water in parts of Peru, Amazon, and Brazil
  • Size: Usually between 6.1 and 7.6 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly seeds, fruit, and flowers, although it will sometimes eat small animals as well
  • Colorful feature: The bald uakari is probably one of the world’s most recognizable monkeys thanks to its incredibly red face.

You might wonder why the bald uakari has such a bright crimson face. After all, most other bald monkeys have gray or black skin. Even though the color may resemble a bad sunburn on a human, it’s a sign of good health in a bald uakari. It’s likely useful for mate selection.

40. Azara’s Night Monkey

Close-up of Azara's Night Monkey.
  • Latin name: Aotus azarae
  • Habitat: Forested areas in parts of Brazil, Peru, Paraguay, and Bolivia
  • Size: About 3 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly fruit, although it often will also eat flowers, insects, and leaves
  • Colorful feature: This odd-looking species has a striking golden-yellow belly and chest. However, its huge reddish eyes may well be its most colorful feature!

Most monkey species are most active during the day. However, night monkeys including this one are mostly nocturnal. Since most monkey species are active during the day, night monkeys have the advantage of reduced to nonexistent competition for food during its feeding hours.

41. White-Eared Titi

White-Eared Titi on branch.
  • Latin name: Callicebus donacophilus
  • Habitat: Forested parts of eastern Bolivia and western Brazil
  • Size: Usually between 1.8 and 2.6 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly fruit, insects, leaves, and seeds
  • Colorful feature: Like many grayish monkey species, the white-eared titi has a grizzled, patterned gray coat to help it blend in. However, it also has an orange belly. The species is named for its very distinctive white ear tufts that stand out alongside its overall darker coloration.

The white-eared titi is one of the monkey species that is not considered to be endangered or threatened. However, conservation experts are keeping an eye on it, as its population has still been in steady decline. It’s more adaptable than other species and will usually cross cleared land if it needs to access a section of forest.

42. White-Bellied Spider Monkey

White-Bellied Spider Monkey sitting on tree trunk.
  • Latin name: Ateles belzebuth
  • Habitat: Forested areas in the northwestern Amazon
  • Size: Usually between 13 and 20 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly fruit and seeds
  • Colorful feature: Despite being related, this spider monkey looks a lot different from other spider monkeys on the list. It is primarily glossy black in color with a white belly and a white or golden spot on the forehead.

Just like many other monkey species, white-bellied spider monkeys live in large groups. And just like howler monkeys, they use loud vocalizations to locate one another. When one monkey calls out to another, the sound can be heard over half a mile away!

43. Bare-Eared Squirrel Monkey

Bare-Eared Squirrel Monkey sitting in tree.
  • Latin name: Saimiri ustus
  • Habitat: Forested areas in parts of Brazil and possibly Bolivia
  • Size: Usually between 1 and 2 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly fruit, insects, nuts, eggs, other plant matter, and even small vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: Like most other species of squirrel monkey, the bare-eared squirrel monkey has a coat that looks like a patchwork of colors. It has a reddish brown back with a deep black “crown” on the head.

This monkey species has a fairly descriptive name. Since its ears are not coated in fur like those of other monkey species, they look a lot like human ears. The palms of its hands often look eerily like human hands as well.

44. Thomas’s Langur

Close-up of Thomas's Langur face.
  • Latin name: Presbytis thomasi
  • Habitat: Dry forests in northern Sumatra, Indonesia
  • Size: About 15 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly leaves, fruit, and flowers
  • Colorful feature: In terms of coloration, these monkeys are mostly gray, black, and white. But the high-contrast nature of their pattern is what makes them colorful. The Thomas’s langur is mostly cool gray in color, with a white belly and black hands and feet. Its head is capped with a white crest that has a black streak going down the middle.

Like most other monkey species on the list, the Thomas’s langur prefers to live in groups. In most cases, they live in groups with one male and multiple females. Groups will usually forage together during the day.

45. Panamanian White-Headed Capuchin

White-headed capuchin in a tropical forest.
  • Latin name: Cebus imitator
  • Habitat: Rainforests in many parts of Central America
  • Size: Up to about 8 pounds
  • Diet: Fruit, other plant matter, insects, and small vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: This monkey’s body is black or near-black. Its most striking feature is its white head, chest, and upper arms. The pattern looks almost like someone has dumped paint on its head.

Despite its relatively wide range, the Panamanian white-faced capuchin is considered to be vulnerable to extinction. Interestingly enough, this species is commonly found in films. It also is intelligent enough to be trained to help people with disabilities.

46. Silvery Marmoset

Silvery Marmoset with baby sitting on back.
  • Latin name: Mico argentatus
  • Habitat: Rainforests in Brazil’s eastern Amazon
  • Size: Usually from 11 to 14 ounces
  • Diet: Mostly tree sap, although they also will eat eggs, insects, fruit and even small vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: Most marmosets we’ve mentioned have dark, patterned coats. But this one has a longish, silky coat that is silvery white.

The silvery marmoset’s coat isn’t the only thing that makes it stand out from many other types of marmosets. Its skin, which you can see on the face, ears, hands, and feet, is pale pink and largely hairless. This is in stark contrast to the usually dark skin of most monkeys and apes.

47. Coquerel’s Sifaka

Coquerel's Sifaka Lemur in the Anjajavy Forest of Madagascar.
  • Latin name: Propithecus coquereli
  • Habitat: Dry forests in northern Madagascar
  • Size: Between 8.15 and 9.5 pounds
  • Diet: Different types of plant matter; its exact diet depends on the season
  • Colorful feature: Plenty of sifakas have distinctive colors and patterns, and this one is no exception. The Coquerel’s sifaka has dark brown arms, thighs, and chest. The rest of its body is bright white, and it also has piercing, intense yellow eyes.

The Coquerel’s sifaka may not be incredibly well-known as a species, but it has featured prominently on television. From 1999 to 2001, it was the main character on an animated children’s show called Zoboomafoo. Like other sifaka species, this one is very good at leaping from tree to tree.

48. Golden-Headed Lion Tamarin

Three Golden-Headed Lion Tamarins in forest.
  • Latin name: Leontopithecus chrysomelas
  • Habitat: Forested areas in parts of Brazil
  • Size: Between 17 and 25 ounces
  • Diet: Plant matter, fruit nectar, invertebrates, and eggs
  • Colorful feature: This small monkey’s high-contrast patterning makes it among the most head-turning of the tamarins. Its head and tail are roughly the color of a golden lion tamarin. However, its body is deep, glossy black. Thanks to its long coat, the golden ring around its head seems to flow into the black body. It is usually paler toward the center of the face and darker toward the edges.

This beautiful and highly distinctive tamarin is currently classified as an endangered species. Habitat destruction and forest fragmentation are two of the greatest threats.

49. Patas Monkey

Patas monkey (Erythrocebus patas) sitting on palm tree
  • Latin name: Erythrocebus patas
  • Habitat: Semi-arid parts of West Africa and in some parts of East Africa
  • Size: Males are about 27.3 pounds; females are about 14.3 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly tubers, insects, and tree gum
  • Colorful feature: These monkeys are usually pale brown in color. But as you can see in the picture, some have rich coloration with darker red markings.

Unlike many species on the list, the patas monkey (also called the wadi monkey or hussar monkey) lives on the ground. However, it can move much faster than most primates. When running on the ground, it can reach speeds of 34 miles per hour!

50. Sumatran Orangutan

Sumatran Orangutan sitting against wall.
  • Latin name: Pongo abelii
  • Habitat: Wooded areas in parts of northern Sumatra
  • Size: Males are around 200 pounds; females are around 100 pounds
  • Diet: Mostly plant matter, fruit, eggs, and small vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: These orangutans have rich red coloration. However, they tend to be lighter in color than their close relative, the Bornean orangutan.

Though you might not think orangutans really have natural predators, they do: Sumatran orangutans are often preyed upon by Sumatran tigers. It isn’t quite as common as the Bornean orangutan we mentioned earlier. It shares the island of Sumatra with the Tapanuli orangutan, a recently-discovered species.

51. Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey

Close-up of Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey.
  • Latin name: Rhinopithecus roxellana
  • Habitat: Forests in a small area of central and southwestern China
  • Size: Usually about 36 pounds
  • Diet: Usually lichens, plant matter, and tree bark
  • Colorful feature: True to its name, the golden snub-nosed monkey has a magnificent golden coat. Its head is much darker than the rest of the body, and it contrasts beautifully with the monkey’s gray face.

This monkey is somewhat unique in that it can withstand much colder temperatures than other primates on the list. Its natural range extends to parts of China where snow is very frequent, so it also has adapted to have a very flexible diet that varies with the season.

Nature’s Brightly Colored Monkeys and Apes

Though we might think of flowers and birds when it comes to colors in nature, our ape and monkey relatives add plenty of exciting color to the world, too. Whether you go to the zoo to see them or happen to travel to their natural habitats, we hope they can brighten your world!