Like many New World monkeys, this species is diurnal and tree-dwelling (3). Moving about in groups of between 20 and 70 individuals (3), the common woolly monkey feeds primarily on fruits (7). However, young seeds, young leaves and flowers are also eaten at certain times of the year (7). It moves about the trees, with its tail providing a constant safety grip on the branches (2), and sleeps in the topmost layer of the forest, often in the crown of a tall tree (5). Sometimes, however, the common woolly monkey will descend to the ground, where it moves upright on its two hindlegs, using the arms and tail for balance (3).
Within each common woolly monkey group, there is a dominance hierarchy amongst the males, which is decided upon through aggressive behaviour (3). They are polygamous monkeys, meaning that they mate with more than one partner each season (5), and it is believed that the scent-marking observed in this species plays a part in mating activity, by advertising the quality of a male. Males scent mark by either rubbing their chest or anogenital region against a branch or tree trunk (8).
Female common woolly monkeys typically give birth to a single young after a gestation period of between 7 and 7.5 months (3) (5). The mother will feed her young for between 9 and 12 months. Sexual maturity is reached at between five and eight years, and, based on evidence of a captive common woolly monkey, this species may live up to around 24 years (3).