Tuesday 21 May
Pileated gibbon (Hylobates pileatus)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Pileated gibbon fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Pileated gibbon description
Known for their graceful and impressive method of locomotion, and their beautiful and complex duets, gibbons are spectacular to behold in the wild (3). Male pileated gibbons have short black hair with white hands, feet and brow band (3) (4), and there is a white circular streak around the crown cap on the sides of the head (4). Females range in colour from buffy to silvery-grey with a black chest, cheeks and cap (3) (4) and a white brow and facial ring (4). Infants of both sexes are similar in colour to the adult female, but slightly paler silvery-buff, making the pileated gibbon the only Hylobates species in which males undergo a colour change (4).
Like other gibbons, the pileated gibbon has a slender body, long forearms and no tail (3) (5). A throat sac located beneath the chin enhances the spectacular calls which both male and female pileated gibbons make. The male calls with abrupt notes and a trill after the females call. The female call is much louder and distinctive and consists of rich short rising notes lasting around 18 seconds (3).
- Also known as
- capped gibbon, crowned gibbon.
- Gibón De Cresta Negra. Top
The Gibbon Conservation Center:
The Cardamom Project Cambodia:
- In some primates, a method of locomotion when the animal swings hand over hand from branch to branch.
- Fruit eating/ fruit eater.
- Having only one mate during a breeding season, or throughout the breeding life of a pair.
- In animals, a pattern of mating in which a male has more than one female partner.
IUCN Red List (June, 2009)
CITES (March, 2008)
- Macdonald, D. (2001) The New Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Gibbon Conservation Center (June, 2008)
The Primata (June, 2008)
- Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker's Mammals of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
The Cardamom Project Cambodia (June, 2008)
Cambodian Wildlife Rescue (June, 2008)
World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) (June, 2008)
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Pileated gibbon biology
Throwing itself from tree to tree over gaps of over nine metres, this tree-dwelling primate moves its forearms alternately to swing beneath the branches (3) (6). Despite exhibiting this brilliant form of locomotion, known as brachiation, the pileated gibbon is also able to move short distances by foot, and can also climb whilst moving slowly or feeding (5). The diet of the pileated gibbon consists primarily of fruits high in sugar, such as the fig (Ficus species), but it also supplements this sweet food with immature leaves, flowers and insects (5).
Pileated gibbons are active during the day, spending the nights and other periods of rest in tall trees (5). They live in small family groups which consist of a breeding pair and their offspring. Single offspring are born into the group every two to three years (5) (7), and leave the group around adolescence (5). Although these apes are monogamous, polygyny has been observed where the white-handed gibbon (Hylobates lar) occurs in the same area, with some groups containing females of both species (5).
Like all other gibbon species, pileated gibbons reinforce bonds between individuals in the group by social grooming, with one individual grooming another (5). Dominated by the female, the bond between breeding pairs is reinforced through ‘duets’. It is believed that these vocalizations are also necessary to establish and maintain the family groups’ territory (5), which they also defend with displays and threats (5) (6).Top
Pileated gibbon rangeTop
Pileated gibbon habitat
Occurs in semi deciduous monsoon forests and tropical evergreen forests (5).Top
Pileated gibbon statusTop
Pileated gibbon threats
The pileated gibbon has undergone a population decline since deforestation began in Southeast Asia (3) (8), and it is thought that the species is near extinction over large parts of its range (3). The additional pressure of hunting, for both food and for the pet trade, is adding to the problem (8). It is thought that up to ten animals will have died during capture or transit for every baby gibbon sold as a pet (8).Top
Pileated gibbon conservation
The pileated gibbon is protected from international trade by its listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International trade in endangered Species (CITES) (2). The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) established an International Studbook in 1990 for the pileated gibbon, and conservation breeding programmes were set up to ensure there is a viable reserve population (9). The Cardomom Project was set up with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) to preserve the Cardomom Mountains region in south west Cambodia to protect both the habitat from destruction and the wildlife from hunters. It is hoped that species such as the pileated gibbon will benefit from the work carried out by this project (7).Top
Find out more
To find out more about the conservation of gibbons, go to:
For further information on The Cardomom Project see:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.