The White-headed Capuchin (Cebus capucinus), also known as the white-faced capuchin or white-throated capuchin, is a medium-sized New World monkey of the family Cebidae, subfamily Cebinae. Native to the forests of Central America and the extreme north-western portion of South America, the white-headed capuchin is important to rainforest ecology for its role in dispersing seeds and pollen.
Like other monkeys in the genus Cebus, the white-headed capuchin is named after the order of Capuchin friars – the cowls of these friars closely resemble the monkey's head coloration. The white-headed capuchin has mostly black fur, with white to yellow like fur on the neck, throat, chest, shoulders, and upper arms. The face is pink or a white-cream color and may have identifying marks such as dark brows or dark fur patches. An area of black fur on the crown of the head is distinctive. It has a prehensile tail that is often held coiled, giving the white-headed capuchin the nickname "ringtail".
The white-headed capuchin is found in much of Central America and a small portion of South America. In Central America, its range includes much of Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. It has also been reported to occur in eastern Guatemala and southern Belize, but these reports are unconfirmed. In South America the white-headed capuchin is found in the extreme north-western strip between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains in Colombia and northwestern Ecuador. It is among the most commonly seen monkeys in Central America's national parks, such as Manuel Antonio National Park, Corcovado National Park, Santa Rosa National Park and Soberania National Park.
The white-headed capuchin is a diurnal and arboreal animal. However, it does come down to the ground more often than many other New World monkeys. It moves primarily by walking on all four limbs. It lives in troops, or groups, of up to 40 monkeys (mean 16, range 4–40) and has a male/female adult sex ratio of 0.71 on average (range 0.54–0.88). With rare exceptions, females spend their entire lives with their female kin. Males migrate to new social groups multiple times during the course of their lifetimes, migrating for the first time between 20 months and 11 years of age. The median age of migration in the Santa Rosa population is 4.5 years. Males sometimes migrate alone, but more often they migrate in the company of other males who are often their kin. One of the unusual features of the kinship structure of the white-headed capuchin, relative to other primate species, is the high degree of relatedness within groups that results from the long tenures of alpha males who sire most of the offspring. Alpha males have been known to keep their positions as long as 17 years in this species and this puts them in the unusual position of being available to sire the offspring of their daughters and granddaughters, who produce their first offspring at about 6–7 years of age. Typically, however, alpha males do not breed with their own daughters, even though they do sire virtually all offspring produced by females unrelated to them. Those subordinate males who are allies of the alpha male in group defense are the males who sire the offspring of the alpha male's daughters. The high degree to which alpha males monopolize mating results in an unusually large number of paternal half-siblings and full siblings in this species relative to other primate species.
- Shelter: Ape Nest, Grass Umbrella, Raised Platform, Tree Hut
- Enrichment: Easel, Jungle Gym, Monkey Bars, Swinging Ball, Tire Swing
- Animal Food: Apples, Bananas, Insects, Leaves, Mixed Fruits