Daily Archives: April 21, 2017

Night Monkeys

Night Monkeys (Owl Monkeys), Pacaya-samiria National Reserve, Amazon River, Peru

Our local guides on our last Terra Firma Forest walk in Pacaya-samiria National Reserve on the Amazon River in Peru found us many interesting things…including these Night Monekys high in a huge Rainforest tree. Night Monkeys, or Owl Monkeys as they are alternatively called, are nocturnal monkeys which range from Panama south through the Amazon basin…the only completely nocturnal monkeys in the world. They are also arboreal, living their whole lives above ground in the trees. Our group on the Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure had seen Night Monkeys on the morning when I was too indisposed to go out in the skiffs, and I figured I had just missed out, so I was more than happy when the local guide raised his eyes and pointed up into the canopy and someone said, “Oh, Night Monkeys!” Though they are nocturnal, they were obviously aware of out presence below them, and interested enough to poke their heads out of their hollow tree nest to see what we were up to. 

It was an impossible shot. Too high, straight up, and against bright holes in the canopy that put the small monkeys in semi-silhouette, and left half the frame burned out white. I had to focus manually and hold the camera awakwardly above my head. Still…Night Monkeys! I am surprised I got anything at all…and I have filled in the over-bright background a bit in TouchRetouch so you can focus on the monkeys. 

Night Monkeys are small…about 13 inches long and weighing in the 2.5 pound range. They are declining due to human disruption in their ranges (everything from agricultural deforestation to civil and drug wars) and have some level of protection in most of the countries where they live…though enforcement is difficult and inconsistent. They are also among a very small number of primates that can catch malaria, so they are used in research on the disease. They are the only primate without color vision…but they have exceptionally high resolution grey-scale vision…which may help them hunt insects in the canopy at night. As you can see, the alternative name of “Owl Monkey” is based on those huge eyes. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Program Mode. Plus 1/3 EV. ISO 1600 @ 1/80th @ f4. Manual focus. Processed in Polarr and TouchRetouch on my iPad Pro.