Thursday, February 4, 2010

Monkeys of Palo Verde

As far as I can tell, there are three species of monkeys to be found within Palo Verde National Park. White-faced capuchins are encountered regularly within the forests surrounding the research station. You might hear them before you see them, chirping as they work their way through the trees. These monkeys typically are found in groups, although I've seen some monkeys traveling in pairs.
Black Howler Monkeys can also be seen somewhat predictably, lounging in the treetops or foraging for fruit. Although they get their name from their loud calls, which are often heard early in the morning, I have yet to be woken up by these beasts at this site. Though, on several occasions, I've heard them hooting in the distance in the middle of the day.

Spider Monkeys aren't as frequently seen, and I was somewhat surprised to see them here in this dry forest. Rightly or wrongly, I had associated them with habitats that receive more rain. But, on the walk back to the station from the Rio Tempisque, I came across a troop traveling quickly through the trees to a mango tree, where they feasted noisily and loudly. A small group of Howlers was displaced by the larger and more boisterous Spider Monkeys.

I had to dodge sticks and leaves falling from the foraging monkeys as I took their pictures.

This is part of a continuing series of my travels through Costa Rica as a component of a Tropical Biology Course offered by the Organization for Tropical Studies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

20 years ago the Palo Verde station had a generator that was turned off at night and on again in the AM. One night a group of Howlers nested in the trees near the station. When the generator was fired up in the morning they erupted with lots of excited hoots and howls. A great alarm clock!