The golden-headed lion tamarin has nonopposable thumbs and the nails are claw-like except for the first digit on each toe. This species has golden hair on its face and forelimbs (Kinzey, 1997). This species has long digits used in the forging small insects and vertebrates (Garber, 1992). The mean adult body mass is around 500-550 grams (Rylands, 1993).
The golden-headed lion tamarin is found in the country of Brazil, and lives in the tall evergreen broadleaf tropical forests and semideciduous forests of the Atlantic coast (Rylands, 1993).
The golden-headed lion tamarin is frugivorous, feeding on soft, sweet fruits, but will also eat flowers, nectar, insects, and small invertebrates (Kleiman et al., 1988). The golden-headed lion tamarin also been seen to feed on the exudates (gums) in the Parkia pendula seed pods (Rylands, 1983). This species sleeps in tree holes during the night, and the dependence on tree holes might be an ecological constraint for the golden-headed lion tamarin (Rylands, 1993). This species is arboreal and diurnal. The golden-headed lion tamarin also uses the same hole for up to six nights in a row (Rylands, 1989). The mean group size for this species is 6.7 individuals (Rylands, 1982).
The golden-headed lion tamarin moves quadrupedally through the main canopy of the forest (Fleagle, 1988). When climbing down tree trunks, the golden-headed lion tamarin will either be in head down or tail down posture (Kleiman et al., 1988).
Food sharing is more important in this genera than other callitrichids, and is important in maintaining the social structure (Brown and Mack, 1978). In a captive experiment, Moura et al. (2010) found that breeding females will increase food sharing with current offspring, which contrasts with what is known from other callitrichid species. This species may form mixed-species groups with Callithrix kuhli (Rylands, 1993). They do not compete with each other because they forage in separate areas and occupy different niches in the environment (Rylands, 1993). The golden-headed lion tamarin forages in the upper levels of the forest and Callithrix kuhli forages in the middle and lower levels of the forest (Rylands, 1993). The golden-headed lion tamarin also has a preference to forage in epiphytic bromeliads (Rylands, 1993).
long call: The function of this call of the golden-headed lion tamarin is to maintain pair bonds and to signify a group's presence in their territory (Kinzey, 1997).