White-cheeked gibbon in exhibit

White-cheeked Gibbon

Scientific Name
Nomascus leucogenys
Geographic Range
Southeast Asia
Ripe fruits and leaves (also, invertebrates)
White-cheeked gibbon in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Critically Endangered Endangered Status Graph - Critically Endangered

More Information

White-cheeked gibbons have long arms and legs that are adapted to moving through trees. Adult females have blond fur, while adult males are black with the white cheek patches that give them their name. Adults may reach 25 inches tall and weigh around 15–20 pounds on average. These are lesser apes, a separate family from great apes.

These gibbons live in flexible social groups that usually include an adult pair and their offspring. Important social activities include grooming, play behavior with infants, and vocalizations—sometimes accompanied with acrobatic behaviors. They spend nearly all their time in trees and rarely come to the ground. They travel about a mile per day through their range. They give birth after a seven-month gestation period, and young gibbons mature around 6 years of age.

Did You Know?

  • White-cheeked gibbons are born with blond fur, which then turns black after about a year and a half. When adults, males stay black while females become blond again.
  • These tree-dwellers use a highly specialized mode of locomotion called brachiation. Instead of grasping at branches with their fingers, their hands form a loose hook around branches, enabling them to swing through the trees using a hand-over-hand motion.
  • At dawn, pairs defend their territory with loud, ritualized duets that last around 10 minutes.


Species Survival Plan logo

Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

Learn More

Animal Care staff working with seal

Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

Learn More

Support Your Zoo

Two Chilean flamingos in exhibit

Animals Depend On People Too

When you ADOPT an animal, you support world-class animal care by helping to provide specially formulated diets, new habitat elements, and regular veterinary checkups.

Adopt an Animal

Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

Wish List

The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy.

Browse the Wish List

African penguin eating a fish

Take Action With Us

Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

Take Action

Empty Playlist