These monkeys live in Central and South America. At home in the forest, they hardly ever leave the treetops. They don't move very far each day, feeding leisurely at the very top of the forest canopy. Howlers mainly eat leaves, as well as fruits, nuts, and flowers. Howler monkeys get almost all the water they need from the food they eat. One of the few times they can be spotted on the ground, however, is during very dry spells when they need to find extra water.

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Howler monkeys have prehensile tails, or tails that can grip. The monkeys use their tails as a fifth limb to grip branches. Mostly it uses its tail to help grip branches as it eats and moves around high in the trees. Each family group is generally made up of 15 to 20 howlers. The leader is usually an old male. The head and body of adult howler monkeys range from 22 to 36 inches (55.8 to 91.4 centimeters) long and their tail can add 23 to 36 inches (58.4 to 91.4 centimeters).

Though most species are classified as least concern, the Yucatán Black is endangered.