White-Cheeked Gibbon

White-Cheeked Gibbon



COMMON NAME: white—cheeked gibbon, white—cheeked crested gibbon, northern white—cheeked gibbon (subspecies), southern white—cheeked gibbon (subspecies)
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Primates
FAMILY: Hylobatidae
GENUS SPECIES: Nomascus (formerly Hylobatesleucogenys


DESCRIPTION: Males are black in color, with white fur on their cheeks, and distinguished crests of hair on top of their heads.  Females are golden to reddish—brown, with black faces and dark brown to black fur on top of their heads.  Females lack the high—domed hair crests that males have.
SIZE: 45 to 64 cm (18—26 in.) in height
WEIGHT: 5.7 kg (12.5 lb.)
DIET: Frugivores: primarily eat ripened fruits, but will supplement their diet with leaves, flowers, and insects.
GESTATION: 7 months
SEXUAL MATURITY: 6 to 7 years of age
LIFE SPAN: Average lifespan is 28 years
RANGE: southeast Asia—including Laos, Vietnam, and southern China
HABITAT: Rainforests
STATUS: IUCN Data Deficient
CITES Appendix I


1. Brachiation refers to the manner in which gibbons move through trees. Using their long fingers to hook over a branch, they swing forward grasping the next branch with the other hand. In this manner, gibbons may reach speeds of 56 kph (35 mph.) while traversing trees that may be up to 15 m (50 ft.) in distance apart.
2. Gibbons have the longest arm length relative to body size of any primate. Arboreal (tree—dwelling) in nature, gibbon arms are longer than their legs, helping them swing from tree to tree.
3. Gibbons are among the 6% of primate species that are monogamous.
4. Contrary to many ape species, adult female gibbons are dominant in their family social structures.
5. Gibbons are territorial. They communicate their territorial boundaries with elaborate and prolonged vocalizations that can be heard from great distances throughout the forest.


Most gibbon species are threatened or endangered due to habitat loss. As the human population continues to grow, the world's forests continue to disappear. 

As fruit—eaters, gibbons are important seed dispersers within their rainforest ecosystem. 


Macdonald, David , ed. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxfordshire: Andromeda Oxford Ltd, 2001.