Black Crested Gibbon

The Black Crested Gibbon is an endangered species of gibbon found in India, the Malay archipelago and Indochina. There are 4 subspecies.

Physical Characteristics

The length from of the head to the end of body is 45-64cm and weighs about 5.7kg. Males and females are strikingly different in appearance with males almost completely black, but sometimes with white or buff cheeks, and females a golden or buff colour with variable black patches, including a black streak on the head.

Distribution and Habitat

The black-crested gibbon inhabits tropical evergreen broad-leaved forests and semi-deciduous monsoon forests .


Gibbons are forest dwellers and are well known for their habit of swinging between the branches of the rainforest on their long arms, a method of locomotion known as brachiation. Gibbons are also adept however, at walking upright, both on the ground and in the trees. Black-crested gibbons live in small family groups consisting of a monogamous male and female and their offspring, there are also reports that groups may contain additional mature females. These apes are predominantly arboreal and the group forages and sleeps amongst the trees. Led by the female, the breeding pair partakes in vigorous bouts of singing in the morning, which hauntingly echo through the forest. It is believed that these ‘duets' are essential in pair bond formation and reinforcement, but also serve to advertise the presence of the group within the territory. A single young is born every two to three years and the infant is usually weaned once it reaches 2 years old.


Black-crested gibbons feed preferentially on ripe sugar rich fruit such as figs, although they also supplement their diet with leaves and insects.


ARBOREAL: Living in trees.

BRACHIATION: In some Primates, a method of locomotion when the animal swings hand over hand from branch to branch.

MONOGAMY: Mating system in which a male and female mate exclusively with each other. The pair bond may last for one season or may be life-long.

SUBSPECIES: A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.



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