Fun White-Cheeked Gibbon Facts For Kids

Abhijeet Modi
May 16, 2023 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary
White-cheeked gibbon facts about the species native to South East Asia.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.5 Min

There is a total of 16-17 species of gibbons. The white-cheeked gibbon is a member of this family.

These species can be classified as old-world species and their conservation status is under threat. This is primarily due to the loss of habitat and wild forests being used as fuelwood. Spotting these species has become so rare and these exclusively arboreal wild species spend most of their time high up in the canopy.

The Northern white-cheeked gibbon group is closely related to the Southern white-cheeked gibbon both of whom were considered to belong to the same family initially. The northern group is seen in  Vietnam, Laos, and China.

The southern group lives in central to southern Laos, Vietnam, east of the Mekong River as well as southern China. This article looks at some fun and interesting facts about the white-cheeked gibbons. If you like this article, then you might also enjoy checking out other articles on the Gibbon and the Siamang.

White-Cheeked Gibbon Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a white-cheeked gibbon?

The White-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus leucogenys) is a type of gibbon species of animal and belongs to the Animalia kingdom.

What class of animal does a white-cheeked gibbon belong to?

White-cheeked gibbons belong to the class Mammalia, order primates, and suborder Haplorhini.

How many white-cheeked gibbons are there in the world?

There are a total of 455 gibbons, this was discovered just two years ago although the exact population count is not known. These species are Critically Endangered due to habitat loss from deforestation and other exploitative activities.

Where does a white-cheeked gibbon live?

White-cheeked gibbons live in the tropical rainforest and are also seen in mangrove forests. They are of two types the northern white-cheeked gibbons and the southern white-cheeked gibbon and live in the forests of Laos, Vietnam, and southern China.

What is a white-cheeked gibbon's habitat?

White-checked gibbons live in tropical rainforests and monsoon forests. They travel approximately one mile per day. They are arboreal species and are rarely seen on the ground. These species are limited in number and are seen in regions of regions in southeast Asia. They are defensive of their territories and defend using calls.

Who do white-cheeked gibbons live with?

They're social animals and tend to live in small groups forming a stable family. They spend most of their time eating. These gibbons live in small families consisting of an adult pair with their infant. Once the juvenile grows up they leave their family group and move out to live on their own.

How long does a white-cheeked gibbon live?

Gibbons live 40-45 years when held in captivity and 25-28 years in the wild. The oldest Gibbon monkey that lived was Nippy a 60-year-old Muller gibbon who passed away in 2008 and live all his life in Wellington Zoo in New Zealand.

How do they reproduce?

The gestation period lasts seven months and white-cheeked gibbons reach sexual maturity at the age of six to seven years. They mate and give birth to a single offspring every two to three years.

Male and female are primates who mate together for life i.e. they are monogamous and have similar characteristics to humans in the sense male and female white-cheeked gibbons stay together and raise their offspring until they are independent to leave the family group.

Parents spend hours grooming each other and this is a bonding activity between the two.

The offspring relies on the mother completely in the initial few weeks and clings onto her horizontally. Once they grow older they sit vertically on their mother's abdomen.

What is their conservation status?

The White-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus leucogenys) is a Critically Endangered species as per the International Union For Conservation Of Nature (IUCN).  

White-Cheeked Gibbon Fun Facts

What do white-cheeked gibbons look like?

Males and female white-cheeked gibbons differ in appearance. All infants are beige when they turn a year old their coats become black with white cheek patches.

When they reach sexual maturity the males remain black while the females turn a beige color again. Their body is covered with light-colored to dark brown or black hair, aside from the face, palms, fingers, and feet.

They have black faces and their facial features like the eyes, nose, and lips too are dark in color. They have long hands and fingers which helps them in locomotion from one place to another.

A white-cheeked gibbon on a tree.

How cute are they?

They are extremely cute and unique to look at in terms of their appearance and have to ability to change color depending on their age and sex as well. They cannot be owned as pets however you could visit a zoo, to visit these species and learn more about them.

A few famous zoos include Perth Zoo and Smithsonian National Zoo among others.

How do they communicate?

They make use of vocalization calls to make others aware of their territories and also open their mouth wide and display their teeth to showcase aggression through body language. Males and females bond with one another by involving themselves in grooming and playing. They are also known to communicate via pheromones.

How big is a white-cheeked gibbon?

The white-cheeked gibbon is 18-25 in  (47-64 cm) tall which is 20 times bigger as compared to adult pygmy marmosets which are the smallest species of monkeys that are 5-6 in (130-150 mm).

How fast can a white-cheeked gibbon jump?

White-checked gibbons can jump at a relatively good speed due to their anatomical shape which helps facilitate ease in locomotion. White checked gibbons have long arms and fingers that allow them to traverse the forest at 3 m (or 10 ft) per swing. They are territorial beings and can defend about three-quarters of their range.

How much does a white-cheeked gibbon weigh?

The white-cheeked gibbon is 18-25 in tall and weighs 15-20 lb. Mandrils are the heaviest living monkeys in the world. In some instances, they even surpass the weight of baboons.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females are not addressed differently. There exists some difference between the two although it's extremely difficult to tell the difference between the two.

Both male and female species have a similar outer appearance. Females turn black at the same time as males but once they are sexually mature their color goes back to the cream color while males remain black throughout.

What would you call a baby white-cheeked gibbon?

A single baby white-cheeked gibbon is born once every two to three years. The baby white-cheeked gibbon is called an infant when it's born and reaches physical maturity at three years of age.

They grow up physically at three years of age and are ready to move out of their family groups by the age of six years. The baby white-cheeked gibbon is born in cream or beige color and changes color once they are grown up and its exact sex is determined.

What do they eat?

White-cheeked gibbons consume mostly a frugivorous diet.  About 75% of their diet consists of fruits and 10% consists of insects. The white-cheeked gibbon diet consists majorly of fruits. It also comprises leaves, flowers, seeds, and tree bark, and if they don't find any other alternative they even feed on insects. Families often feed together in trees.

How active are they?

They are active beings and spend most of their time grooming and playing. This is an apt time for them to bond with other species of their kind.

To heat up from the sun, they move to lower trees further down in the understory. Gibbons spend the majority of their time in the trees. They move from tree to tree by swinging between the branches and vines.

Would they make a good pet?

They are innately wild animals and survive best in the wild. Another factor is that their populations have declined so drastically almost to the point of extinction it's best to visit them in their natural habitat, conservation forests, or any zoo which has such species.

Did you know...

Gibbons feed mostly in the upper and middle regions of the canopy and are rarely seen on the ground except in a zoo where they are kept in a specific habitat. They don't stay for long on the ground as this can make them susceptible to falling prey to predators.

Gibbons are extremely intelligent animals and are capable of recognizing themselves in a mirror. They are also capable of communicating via various songs. Not just gibbons but most ape species have exceptional intelligence.

Why do white-cheeked gibbons have long arms?

Gibbons are the primates with the longest arms which is perfectly fit for their arboreal lifestyle in the canopy as well as other places in their habitat. Their strong hindlimbs and forelimbs help them survive easily and help in locomotion.

It is also a unique identifying feature in these species. Their long arms give them good posture and enable holding branches easily.

Why are white-cheeked gibbons endangered?

These species are presumed to be extinct in China. No one has spotted white-cheeked gibbons in China since 1990. Later a small population was recorded in southern China as recently as the 1980s.

Habitat loss is a major threat to these species apart from this other factors like deforestation and global warming play an equally important role. Other places where these species are seen include Laos and Vietnam.

Rapid felling of trees and habitats has caused more harm than good to such species of animals. They are important seed dispersers. It's increasingly important to realize the importance of the survival of wild animals for the sustenance of the ecosystem.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including woolly monkeys or the plains zebra.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our white-cheeked gibbon coloring pages.

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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

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Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

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Smriti ChaudharyBachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti, a student data scientist, and coder, is pursuing her Bachelor of Technology at K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering. She has achieved top rankings in the International English Olympiad, National Spelling Bee, and PSAT/SAT English Section. She is experienced in content creation and editing for various academic institutions.

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