August 31, 2012

How to Spot a Monkey in the Rainforest

Saddle-back Tamarin
The key to spotting monkeys with your eyes is, simply put, using your ears. Ideally, you would take the time to memorize their calls; the bird-like whistles of tamarins and squirrel monkeys, the woops of dusky titi monkeys, and the grunts of capuchins and howlers. Once you can pick the sound out of the rainforest soundtrack, you have a much better chance of spotting a monkey.

 However, the easiest way to spot them is much simpler: while monkeys are great climbers, they’re not exactly elegant climbers. They jump, swing, and crash through the trees. So listen for the crashing, the rustle of leaves up above, then wait… and usually a monkey (or a hundred monkeys1) will soon come into view.

Red Howler Monkey

These are some of my favorite shots of the monkeys I’ve gotten during my two weeks at Posada Amazonas. Monkeys tend not to sit still long enough to get a good shot, not to mention the strong back-light of the sky, so getting a decent photograph takes some patience to say the least.

Squirrel Monkey

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