Animal Info - Black Gibbon
(Other Names: 黑长臂猿, Black-crested, Concolor, Crested,
or Western Black-crested Gibbon; Gibbon à Favoris Blancs; Gibbon Noir)
Nomascus concolor (Hylobates c.)
1. Profile (Picture)
3. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries Where
Currently Found, Population Estimates, History of Distribution, Threats and Reasons
4. Data on Biology and Ecology (Weight, Habitat, Gestation Period, Birth Rate, Diet, Behavior,
Social Organization, Density and Range)
Gibbon #1 (22 Kb JPEG); Black
Gibbon #2 (10 Kb JPEG) (Sci.
Mus. China); Black
Gibbon #3 (39 Kb JPEG) (Arkive)
The black gibbon is a small arboreal ape
weighing about 8 kg (18 lb). It prefers subtropical and montane evergreen forests and eats
mainly leaf buds, shoots, and fruits. Gibbons are mainly diurnal.
A single young is usually born to a mature female black gibbon every 2 - 3 years. The
black gibbon is the only polygynous gibbon
species. Other gibbons are monogamous. The
average size of black gibbon troops is about half a dozen individuals, which includes one
adult male, one or more adult females and several young gibbons of various ages.
The black gibbon was once widespread in forests throughout southern China and Vietnam
and into Laos and Cambodia. In 1990 the only area where black gibbon
populations were reported to be healthy was in Yunnan Province, China, with other populations in Laos and Vietnam
having uncertain status (Bleisch & Nan
1990). In 2000 it was believed to occur in
(IUCN 2000). The black gibbon is
threatened by loss of its preferred primary forest habitat, as well as by hunting for food
and Oriental medicine. Extensive military activities within its range probably also had a
*** Chinese hunters consider gibbon meat to be delicious, and rural Chinese believe
that gibbon bones provide an effective treatment for rheumatism.
*** A striking trait of all concolor gibbons is sexual
dichromatism. The newborn's coat becomes a shiny black at about 1 year of
age. Males keep this coat color throughout life, whereas the black-haired infant
female becomes a bright golden yellow or light yellow color at or around sexual
maturity. (Ma et al. 1988)
Status and Trends
Countries Where the Black Gibbon Is Currently Found:
2004: Occurs in China (Yunnan), Laos and Vietnam.
[Note: Figures given are for wild populations only.]
- 1987: 1750 - 5350 in natural protected areas in Yunnan Province (there are also some in
remote timber reserves and 16 on Hainan Island) (Haimoff et al. 1987)
- 1998: 150 - 1000 (Zhang 1998)
History of Distribution:
[Note: Tracing the history of gibbon species is complicated by changes in their
- Past : Once widespread, inhabiting ... forests throughout southern China, in Vietnam
north of 20 deg. latitude and into Laos" (Bleisch & Nan 1990)
- 1967: Hainan, Indo-China and from Tonkin to Laos,
Annam and Thailand (Schuhmacher 1967)
- 1987: Found in the forests of southern China and
Hainan, south to southern Cambodia and Vietnam (Burton
& Pearson 1987)
- 1990: China (effectively protected, but numbers
are dropping), Laos (only one known population of
doubtful taxonomy) and Vietnam (status unknown but may be precarious) (Bleisch & Nan 1990)
- 1994: Cambodia, China, Laos and Vietnam (IUCN
- 1996: Cambodia, China and Vietnam
- 2000: China (Yunnan), Laos and Vietnam
Threats and Reasons for Decline:
The black gibbon is threatened by loss of its preferred primary forest habitat, as well
as hunting for food and Oriental medicine. Extensive military activities within its range
probably also had a detrimental effect. (Le
Xuan Canh 1996)
Data on Biology and Ecology
The black gibbon weighs about 8 kg (6.9 - 10 kg) (18 lb (15.2 - 22 lb)).
Its head and body length is about 50 cm (43 - 54 cm) (20" (17 -
21")). (Ma et al. 1988)
The black gibbon prefers subtropical and montane
The black gibbon is one of the species that live in both the Indo-Burma
Intl.) and the
Northern Indochina Subtropical Moist Forests, Annamite Range Moist Forests, and Eastern
Indochina Dry & Monsoon Forests Global 200 Ecoregions. (Olson & Dinerstein 1998, Olson & Dinerstein 1999)
7 - 8 months.
A single young is usually born. The time between birth is usually 2 - 3 years.
The black gibbon eats mainly leaf buds, shoots, and fruits, but rarely
animals (Burnie & Wilson
All gibbons are strictly arboreal and mainly diurnal.
The black gibbon lives in groups - usually a female, a male and their young
(Burnie & Wilson 2001).
It is the only polygynous gibbon
species. All others are monogamous (Haimoff et al. 1987).
Density and Range:
Estimated densities of black gibbon troops in different habitat based on field studies (Bleisch & Nan 1990):
- Areas where deforestation had destroyed the closed canopy forest: 0 groups/sq km
- Areas where closed canopy forest was open to disturbance such as hunting: 0.2 groups/sq
km (0.5 groups/sq mi)
- Areas with good habitat but recovering from past disturbance: 1.9 groups/sq km (4.9
- Areas of undisturbed forest: 1.3 groups/sq km (3.4 groups/sq mi)
Based on the amount of area covered by each habitat type, an overall density was then
estimated of 0.20 - 0.66 groups/sq km (0.5 - 1.7 groups/sq mi) (350 - 1100 groups in 1670
sq km (640 sq mi) of natural protected areas in China).
Using their estimate of 5 individuals/group gives an overall density of 1 - 3.3
individuals/sq km (2.6 - 8.6 individuals/sq mi).
Arkive, Bleisch & Nan 1990,
Burnie & Wilson 2001, Burton & Pearson 1987, Cons.
& Flora 2003, Haimoff et al. 1987, IUCN 1994, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, IUCN 2003a,
Le Xuan Canh 1996, Ma
et al. 1988, Macdonald
1984, Nowak & Paradiso 1983, Olson & Dinerstein 1998, Olson & Dinerstein 1999, Schuhmacher 1967, Sci.
Mus. China, Zhang 1998
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Last modified: May 29, 2005;