Howler Monkey

Category: Wildlife

Consisting of 15 currently recognized species, the howler monkey is famous for its incredibly loud howl which can be heard from miles away. Native to the South and Central American forests, the howler monkey is one of the largest of the New World monkeys.

Howler Monkey

Howler Monkey

Scientific & Common Names

Kingdom - Animalia

Phylum - Chordata

Class - Mammalia

Order - Primates

Family - Atelidae

Subfamily - Alouattinae

Genus - Alouatta

Common Names – Howler Monkey


Howler monkeys are thought to be the loudest animals in the world. It is said that their howls can be heard up to three miles away. Their howls are made possible due to a larger than usual hyoid bone, located in the neck.

These monkeys can be a wide range of colors, sometimes even within the same species, including red, black, brown and cream colored.


In howler monkey social groups, the larger a male's hyoid bone is, the smaller the number of males in the group. Some groups have a single male with a large hyoid, with the rest of the group being composed of females. Other groups feature multiple males with smaller hyoids, and in these groups the males and females will freely mate with each other.


Howler monkeys use their arms, legs, and prehensile tail to swing from branch to branch and spend much of their time in the canopies of the forest. Males use their distinctive howling to protect their territory and guard their mates. They mainly eat leaves, fruits and flowers but will occasionally eat eggs.


Like many New World monkeys, howler monkeys have long prehensile tails that allow them to swing and grasp onto tree limbs. Since howler monkeys rarely travel to the forest’s floor, their tails are important for staying aloft while they search for food.

Present Status

Of the 15 species of howler monkey, most are of Least Concern status. However, a few species are Vulnerable or Endangered due to human factors including habitat loss, hunting the monkeys for food, and taking wild monkeys as pets.