Masked titi (Callicebus personatus)

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Masked titi fact file

Masked titi description

GenusCallicebus (1)

The masked titi, Callicebus personatus, is a particularly striking New World monkey, with distinctive facial markings, a black forehead and black sideburns. The upper and lower parts of the body are a varying mixture of grey, buff, yellow and orange. The tail is similarly coloured but tinged with black, and the fur on the hands and feet are also black (3).

Adult male and female masked titis may engage in duets or give dawn calls, eliciting responses from other groups (4). The adult male may also give territorial ‘loud calls’. These are short sequences of noises that sound like “chirrup-pump”, which are either given as a single burst or as a series of short bursts, lasting from a few seconds to two minutes (5).

Also known as
Atlantic titi, Northern masked titi.
Titi À Masque.
Male head-body length: 35 - 42cm (3)
Female head-body length: 31 - 40cm (3)
Male tail length: 47 - 55cm (3)
Female tail length: 42 - 56cm (3)
Male weight: 1.1 - 1.7kg (3)
Female weight: 1.0 - 1.6kg (3)

Masked titi biology

Described as opportunistic, the masked titi feeds on the leaves, flowers, fruit and seeds of a wide variety of plant species (8) (9). The diet of the masked titi changes with season. In the dry season, more seeds are taken (9) and the foraging range is reduced (10), whereas in the warmer months, more fruit is eaten (11). The masked titi has also been observed feeding alongside Geoffroy’s tufted-eared marmosets, (Callithrix geoffroyi) (7).

The masked titi is monogamous and lives in groups of two to six individuals, usually consisting of a breeding pair and its offspring (12). Infants are born between August and October (7). The male becomes the principle care giver for young when they are one week old, carrying them for the majority of the time (4). Titi monkeys have a unique system of reinforcing social bonds, whereby group members groom each other, huddling together with their tails entwined as they sleep (4).

The masked titi is diurnal and active for around 12 hours a day, the majority of which is spent resting, travelling and feeding (11). Usually, particular boughs of trees are used by the masked titi for sleeping overnight. The adult males are usually the last to leave the sleeping trees in the morning (4).


Masked titi range

The masked titi is endemic to Brazil. It has a relatively small geographic range in the south east of the country, spanning Espírito Santo, north-western Minas Gerais and northern Rio de Janeiro. The range of the masked titi is bordered by that of other titi monkeys of the genus Callicebus, and also overlaps with some of the most densely human populated parts of Brazil (1).


Masked titi habitat

The masked titi is an arboreal species and is found in the lower canopy of subtropical and moist tropical secondary forests, in thickets and vine tangles (6). It has also been observed in banana tree groves (7).


Masked titi status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (2).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Masked titi threats

Hunting pressure on the masked titi is thought to be low compared to capuchins and marmosets from the same region. However, numbers of the masked titi have decreased by 30% in the last 24 years, as a result of ongoing deforestation and habitat fragmentation as forest is converted for cattle ranching, agriculture and urban development. The demand for land is so high that only five to ten percent of forest cover remains, meaning that populations of the masked titi are becoming increasingly isolated. This increases the risk of inbreeding and lowers genetic diversity in small populations (1).


Masked titi conservation

The largest remaining populations of the masked titi are located within the Reserva Biològica de Sooretama and the Reserva Natural de Linhares (1). However, there are no known direct conservation progammes for this species. The masked titi is also listed on Appendix II of CITES, which means that any trade in masked titis, living or dead, is closely controlled (2).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

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This species information was authored as part of the Arkive and Universities Scheme.


An animal which lives or spends a large amount of time in trees.
Active during the day.
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Genetic diversity (genetic variation)
The variety of genes within a particular species, population or breed causing differences in morphology, physiology and behaviour.
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
Having only one mate during a breeding season, or throughout the breeding life of a pair.
Secondary forest
Forest that has re-grown after a major disturbance, such as fire or timber harvest, but has not yet reached the mature state of primary forest.
Describes an animal, a pair of animals or a group that occupies and defends an area.


  1. IUCN Red List (August, 2011)
  2. CITES (August, 2011)
  3. Hershkovitz, P. (1990) Titis: New World monkeys of the genus Callicebus (Cebidae, Platyrrhini): a preliminary taxonomic review. Fieldianna Zool. 55: 1-109.
  4. Kinzey, W. G. and Becker, M. (1983) Activity pattern of masked titi monkey, Callicebus personatus. Primates 24 (3): 337-343.
  5. Flesher, K. (1999) Primates of the Itubera Forest Complex, Bahia, Brazil. Neotropical Primates 7 (4): 127-131.
  6. Stallings, J. R. and Robinson, J. G. (1991) Disturbance, forest heterogeneity and primate communities in a Brazilian Atlantic forest park. A Primatologia no Brasil 3: 357-368.
  7. Kinzey, W. G. (1981) The titi monkeys, genus Callicebus. In: Coimbra-Filho, A. F. and Mittermeier, R. A. (Eds.) Ecology and Behaviour of Neotropical Primates Vol. I. Academia Brasileira de Ciencias, Rio de Janeiro.
  8. Kinzey, W. G. (1992) Dietary and dental adaptations in the Pitheciinae. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 88: 499-514.
  9. Heiduck, S. (1997) Food choice in Masked Titi Monkeys (Callicebus personatus melanochir): Selectivity or Opportunism? Internal Journal of Primatology 18: 487-502.
  10. Heiduck, S. (1998) How to cope with seasonality in food availability: Patch use strategies of the masked titi monkeys (Callicebus personatus melanochir). Folia Primatologica 69: 221.

Image credit


© Russell A. Mittermeier / Conservation International

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