The bald uakari (pronounced ‘wakari’) is a small, red-faced primate native to the Amazon rainforest in South America.
Also called bald-headed uakaris, red uakaris, and scarlet fever uakaris, these primates have a limited distribution range across the Amazon River Basin in eastern Peru and western Brazil. They once inhabited southern Colombia but are assumed to have disappeared in that area because of deforestation.
Bald uakaris live in the tropical forests of seasonal lowlands called várzea (floodplain) forests. The largest populations (up to 30 monkeys) live along lakes and tributaries between the Yavarí (or Javarí) and Ucayali rivers, right along the border of Peru and Brazil.
Bald uakaris are both herbivores (plant-eaters) and frugivores (fruit-eaters), and their exact diet varies depending on the time of year. During the dry season (August through November), their diet consists of fallen leaves and fruits, seeds, and roots. When flooding occurs during the rainy season (December through May), water levels become too high on the ground, forcing the bald uakaris to move up to the tree canopy, where they can find nourishment from fruits and leaves. Their strong jaws and developed fangs help them to bite through foods with hard exteriors, like thick fruit skins, unripened fruits, and Brazil nuts.
Like many other South American primates, bald uakari has a polymorphic color vision. This means that they have both dichromatic vision (they see in 2 different colors) and trichromatic vision (they see in 3 different colors).