Callithrix flaviceps


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Callithrix flaviceps
Species Authority: (Thomas, 1903)
Common Name(s):
English Buffy-headed Marmoset
French Ouistiti À Tête Jaune
Taxonomic Notes: In the past, the eastern Brazilian marmosets (penicillata É. Geoffroy, 1812, geoffroyi É. Geoffroy in Humboldt, 1812, aurita É. Geoffroy in Humboldt, 1812, and flaviceps Thomas, 1903) of the “jacchus group” were considered to be subspecies of Callithrix jacchus, following Hershkovitz (1977). All are now considered to be full species (see Coimbra-Filho and Mittermeier 1973, Coimbra-Filho 1984, Mittermeier et al. 1988, Mendes 1997b, Marroig et al. 2004, Coimbra-Filho et al.. 2006).

Coimbra-Filho (1986a,b, 1990) and Coimbra-Filho et al. (1993b) argued that Callithrix flaviceps should be considered a subspecies of C. aurita. The similarities between C. flaviceps and C. aurita in pelage patterns such as the ear tufts and the skull-like facial mask, ecological adaptations, ontogeny (the infants are extremely similar), vocalizations and clinal variation in overall pelage colour, indicate to us that flaviceps might well be best considered a subspecies of aurita (Coimbra-Filho 1986a,b; Coimbra-Filho et al. 1993).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Rylands, A.B, Ferrari, S.F. & Mendes, S.L.
Reviewer(s): Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)
This species is listed as Endangered due to small population size and ongoing decline. Current estimates of the population are less than 2,500 mature individuals, with no subpopulation greater than 250 individuals. Remaining populations are fragmented. Densities are naturally low.
2003 Endangered
2000 Endangered
1996 Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The distribution of C. flaviceps is described by Hershkovitz (1977), Coimbra-Filho et al. (1981), and Coimbra-Filho (1986a). It occurs in the Serra da Mantiqueira in southern Espírito Santo, south of the Rio Doce at least to the state boundary with Rio de Janeiro (and in the past possibly in the north of the state of Rio de Janeiro, in the municipalities of Natividade, Porciuncula and the north of Bom Jesus do Itabapoãna when they were forested). It extends west into eastern Minas Gerais in scattered localities in the highly fragmented forests of the Rio Manhuaçu basin as far as Manhuaçú (40°02’W), as noted by Coimbra-Filho (1986a) Coimbra-Filho et al. (1981) and Mendes and Melo (2007). Ferrari and Mendes (1991) and Mendes (1993) reviewed the distribution of C. flaviceps. Hirsch (2003; Hirsch et al. in prep.) obtained records in Minas Gerais which have extended its known range somewhat north and west, towards the east (right bank) of the Rio Doce (Fazenda Saet [19º43'S, 42º26'] and the Fazenda do Eraldo A. Alves [19º45'S, 42º25'] both at an altitiude of 270 m and about 10 km from the east bank of the Rio Doce, in the municipality of Pingo d’Água). Hirsch (2003) also refers to two localities which would extend the range a little further south in Minas Gerais, but they have still to be confirmed and may be hybrids with C. aurita (the left bank of the Rio Matipó, municipality of Abre Campo, and the Córrego Jurumirim, left bank of the Rio Casca, municipality of Rio Casca).
Brazil (Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Their distribution is locally patchy, being abundant in some areas, but rare or absent in others close by.

In Augusto Ruschi Biological Reserve, Espírito Santo, Pinto et al. (1993) recorded a mean density of 7.1 individuals/km² (range = 3.4 - 18 injdividuals/km²). At the Caratinga Biological Station, Minas Gerais, the recorded density was 40 individuals/km² (Ferrari 1988).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Callithrix aurita and C. flaviceps are the southernmost forms of marmosets in terms of the natural range of the genus (C. jacchus, C. penicillata and C. geoffroyi have been introduced further south in Paraná, São Paulo, Santa Catarina and Argentina). They occur in the montane Atlantic coastal forest and forests of the inland plateau, at altitudes up to 1,200 m where dry season temperatures can fall close to freezing (Ferrari et al. 1996). They show a preference for disturbed forest, being rare in old growth forest with sparse understoreys (Ferrari 1988; Ferrari and Mendes 1991). There is a natural hybrid zone, with Callithrix aurita, at the Serra do Brigadeiro, Carangola, in south-eastern Minas Gerais (Coimbra-Filho et al. 1993; Cosenza 1993; Mendes 1997a; Cosenza and Melo 1998).

Marmosets and tamarins are distinguished from the other monkeys of the New World by their small size, modified claws rather than nails on all digits except the big toe, the presence of two as opposed to three molar teeth in either side of each jaw, and by the occurrence of twin births. They eat fruits, flowers, nectar, plant exudates (gums, saps, latex) and animal prey (including frogs, snails, lizards, spiders and insects) (see Ferrari 1988, 1991; Corrêa et al. 2000). Marmosets have morphological and behavioural adaptations for gouging trees trunks, branches and vines of certain species to stimulate the flow of gum, which they eat, and in some species form a notable component of the diet (Coimbra-Filho 1972; Rylands 1984). They live in extended family groups of between four and 15 individuals. Generally, only one female per group breeds during a particular breeding season. The groups defend home ranges 10-40 ha, the size depending on availability and distribution of foods and second-growth patches.

The ecology and behaviour of C. flaviceps has been studied by Ferrari (1988, 1991, Ferrari and Diego 1992) at the 880 ha Caratinga Biological Station in Minas Gerais. The home range of the group he studied was 35.5 ha. Guimarães (1998a, 1998b) also studied the same marmoset group at Caratinga.

The dentition of Callithrix flaviceps is less specialized for tree-gouging to obtain gum than it is in C. jacchus and C. penicillata (see Natori 1986). Nevertheless, gum is an important part of the diet year round, and largely obtained from sites where it is available without requiring gouging (Ferrari 1988, 1991; Ferrari et al. 1996).

Average weight: 406 g (Rosenberger 1992).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species has a restricted range in an area where the forest is extremely fragmented through agriculture, cattle ranching, tree plantations (Eucalyptus), urbanization, and mining (Coimbra-Filho 1986a; 1990; Ferrari and Mendes 1991; Mendes and Melo 2007). They are hunted for pets.

Mendes and Melo (2007) surveyed forest fragments in the Zona da Mata of the state of Minas Gerais, and recorded the presence of introduced populations of Callithrix jacchus, C. peniciilata and C. geoffroyi, which they believe are displacing C. flaviceps. They recommended awareness campaigns to reduce the habit of releasing marmosets willy nilly, in the region centred on the town of Manhuaçú.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in the following protected areas:

Minas Gerais
Caparaó National Park (31,853 ha) (part Espírito Santo)
Caratinga Biological Station / RPPN Feliciano Miguel Abdala (900 ha) (Coimbra-Filho et al. 1981).
RPPN Mata do Sossego Biological Station (221 ha) (privately owned)

Espírito Santo
Augusto Ruschi Biological Reserve (4,492 ha) (Pinto et al. 1993)
Pedra Azul State Reserve (993 ha) (Mendes 1991; Ferrari and Mendes 1991; Oliver and Santos 1991)
Forno Grande State Reserve (340 ha) (Mendes 1991; Ferrari and Mendes 1991; Oliver and Santos 1991)
São Lourenço Biological Station (Mendes 1991; Ferrari and Mendes 1991; Oliver and Santos 1991)
Santa Lucia Biological Station (350 ha) (Mendes 1991; Ferrari and Mendes 1991; Oliver and Santos 1991)

Attempts to establish a captive breeding program have to date been unsuccessful (Coimbra-Filho et al. 1997).

It is listed on Appendix I of CITES.

Bibliography [top]

Coimbra-Filho, A. F. 1972. Aspectos inéditos do comportamento de sagüis do gênero Callithrix (Callithricidae, Primates). Revista Brasiliera de Biologia 32: 505–512.

Coimbra-Filho, A. F. 1984. Situação atual dos calitriquídeos que ocorrem no Brasil (Callitrichidae-Primates). In: M. T. de Mello (ed.), A Primatologia no Brasil,, pp. 15-33. Sociedade Brasileira de Primatologia, Brasília, Brazil.

Coimbra-Filho, A. F. 1986. Sagüi-da-serra Callithrix flaviceps (Thomas, 1903). FBCN/Inf., Rio de Janeiro.

Coimbra-Filho, A. F. 1986. Sagüi-da-serra-escuro Callithrix aurita (É. Geoffroy, 1812). FBCN/Inf., Rio de Janeiro.

Coimbra-Filho, A. F. 1990. Sistemática, distribuição geográfica e situação atual dos símios brasileiros (Platyrrhini, Primates). Revista Brasiliera de Biologia 50: 1063-1079.

Coimbra-Filho, A. F. and Mittermeier, R. A. 1973. New data on the taxonomy of the Brazilian marmosets of the genus Callithrix Erxleben, 1777. Folia Primatologica 20: 241-264.

Coimbra-Filho, A. F., Mittermeier, R. A. and Constable, I. D. 1981. Callithrix flaviceps (Thomas, 1903) recorded from Minas Gerais, Brazil (Callitrichidae, Primates). Revista Brasiliera de Biologia 41(1): 141-147.

Coimbra-Filho, A. F., Mittermeier, R. A., Rylands, A. B., Mendes, S. L., Kierulff, M. C. M. and Pinto, L. P. de S. 2006. The taxonomic status of Wied’s black-tufted-ear marmoset, Callithrix kuhlii (Callitrichidae, Primates). Primate Conservation 21: 1–24.

Coimbra-Filho, A. F., Pissinatti, A. and Rylands, A. B. 1993. Experimental multiple hybridism among Callithrix species from eastern Brazil. In: A. B. Rylands (ed.), Marmosets and Tamarins: Systematics, Ecology, and Behaviour, pp. 95-120. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Coimbra-Filho, A. F., Pissinatti, A. and Rylands, A. B. 1997. Back-crossing and the preservation of the buffy-headed marmoset (Callithrix aurita flaviceps) Callitrichidae, Primates. In: S. F. Ferrari and H. Schneider (eds), A Primatologia no Brasil - 5, pp. 204-215. Universidade Federal do Pará, Sociedade Brasileira de Primatologia, Belém, Brazil.

Corrêa, H.K.M., Coutinho, P.E.G. and Ferrari, S.F. 2000. Between-year differences in the feeding ecology of highland marmosets (Callithrix aurita and Callithrix flaviceps) in south-eastern Brazil. Journal of Zoology (London) 252: 421-427.

Cosenza, B. A. P. 1993. Primatas do município de Carangola. Minas Gerais, Carangola.

Cosenza, B. A. P. and de Melo, F. R. 1998. Primates of the Serra do Brigadeiro State Park, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Neotropical Primates 6: 18–20.

Diego, V. H., Ferrari, S. F. and Mendes, F. D. C. 1993. Conservação do sagüi-da-serra (Callithrix flaviceps). O papel de matas particulares. In: M. E. Yamamoto and M. B. C. de Sousa (eds), A Primatologia no Brasil - 4, pp. 129-137. Editora Universitaria, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal.

Ferrari, S. F. 1988. The ecology and behaviour of the buffy-headed marmoset, Callithrix flaviceps (O. Thomas, 1903). Ph.D. Thesis, University College.

Ferrari, S. F. 1991. Preliminary report on a field study of Callithrix flaviceps. Sociedade Brasileira de Primatologia, Belo Horioznte, Brazil.

Ferrari, S. F. and Diego, V. H. 1992. Long-term changes in a wild marmoset group. Folia Primatologica 58: 215-218.

Ferrari, S. F. and Diego, V. H. 1993. Rethinking the status of Callithrix flaviceps. Neotropical Primates 1(3): 2-4.

Ferrari, S. F. and Mendes, S. L. 1991. Buffy-headed marmosets 10 years on.

Ferrari, S. F., Corrêa, M. K. M. and Coutinho, P. E. G. 1996. Ecology of the southern marmosets (Callithrix aurita and Callithrix flaviceps) - How different, how similar? In: M. A. Norconk, A. L. Rosenberger and P. A. Garber (eds), Adaptive Radiations of Neotropical Primates, pp. 157-171. Plenum Press, New York, USA.

Guimarães, A. 1998. Ecologia, Comportamento Reprodutivo e Marcação de Cheiro em Um Grupo de Callithrix flaviceps (Callitrichidae, Primates), na Estação Biológica de Caratinga, Minas Gerais. M.Sc. Thesis, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.

Guimarães, A. 1998. Ecology and social behaviour of buffy-headed marmosets, Callithrix flaviceps. Neotropical Primates 6(2): 51-52.

Hershkovitz, P. 1977. Living New World monkeys (Platyrrhini), with an introduction to Primates. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.

Hirsch, A. 2003. Avaliação da fragmentação do habitat e seleção de áreas prioritárias para a conservação dos primatas na bacia do rio Doce, Minas Gerais, através da aplicação de um sistema de informações geográficas. Doctoral Thesis, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.

Hirsch, A., Toledo, P. P., de Brito, B. F. A. and Rylands, A. B. In press. New records enlarge the geographic distribution of Callithrix flaviceps. Neotropical Primates.

Marroig, G., Cropp, S. and Cheverud, J. M. 2004. Systematics and evolution of the jacchus group of marmosets (Platyrrhini). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 123: 11-22.

Mendes, C. S. L. and de Melo. F. R. 2007. Situação atual do sagüi-da-serra (Callithrix flaviceps) em fragmentos florestais na Zona da Mata de Minas Gerais. In: J. C. Bicca-Marques (ed.), A Primatologia no Brasil - 10, pp. 163-180. Porto Alegre.

Mendes, S. L. 1991. Situação atual dos primatas em reservas florestais do estado do Espírito Santo. In: A. B. Rylands and A. T. Bernardes (eds), A Primatologia no Brasil – 3, pp. 347-356. Sociedade Brasileira de Primatologia, Fundação Biodiversitas, Belo Horizonte.

Mendes, S. L. 1993. Distribuição geográfica e estado de conservação de Callithrix flaviceps (Primates: Callitrichidae). In: M. E. Yamamoto and M. B. C. de Sousa (eds), A Primatologia no Brasil – 4, pp. 139-154. Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Sociedade Brasileira de Primatologia, Natal.

Mendes, S. L. 1997. Hybridization in free-ranging Callithrix flaviceps and the taxonomy of the Atlantic forest marmosets. Neotropical Primates 5(1): 6-8.

Mendes, S. L. 1997. Padrões biogeográficas e vocais em Callithrix do Grupo jacchus (Primates, Callitrichidae). Doctoral Thesis, Universidade Estadual de Campinas.

Mittermeier, R. A., Rylands, A. B. and Coimbra-Filho, A. F. 1988. Systematics: species and subspecies - an update. In: R. A. Mittermeier, A. B. Rylands, A. F. Coimbra-Filho and G. A. B. da Fonseca (eds), Ecology and Behavior of Neotropical Primates, pp. 13-75. World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC, USA.

Natori, M. 1986. Interspecific relationships of Callithrix based on dental characters. Primates 27(3): 321-336.

Oliver, W. L. R. and Santos, I. B. 1991. Threatened endemic mammals of the Atlantic forest region of south-east Brazil. Wildlife Preservation Trust, Special Scientific Report 4: 1-125.

Pinto, L. P. S., Costa, C. M. R., Strier, K. B. and da Fonseca, G. A. B. 1993. Habitat, density and group size of primates in a Brazilian Tropical forest. Folia Primatologica 61: 135–143.

Rosenberger, A. L. 1992. Evolution of feeding niches in New World monkeys. 8: 525-562.

Rylands, A. B. 1984. Exudate-eating and tree-gouging by marmosets (Callitrichidae, Primates). In: A. C. Chadwick and S. L. Sutton (eds), Tropical Rain Forest: The Leeds Symposium, pp. 155–168. Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, Leeds, UK.

Citation: Rylands, A.B, Ferrari, S.F. & Mendes, S.L. 2008. Callithrix flaviceps. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 28 August 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided