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Gibbon, Buff-Cheeked

Gibbon, Buff-Cheeked

Scientific Name: Nomascus gabriellae

Status: Endangered

Habitat: forests of Southeast Asia

Diet: These apes are omnivorous, eating fruits, leaves, insects, and birds eggs.

Height: 25 inches

Weight: 18 pounds

Eating mostly fruit, gibbons aid in seed dispersal throughout the forests in which they live, promoting plant growth. Gibbons usually forage throughout the day, but feed mostly in the morning. They live in small family groups consisting of a mated pair with up to 4 dependent offspring. Females are pregnant for seven months, and typically give birth to one infant born with buff-colored fur like its mother. The infant’s color changes to black at about six months. Then, males stay black and females change back to buff. When conflict between maturing offspring and their parents intensifies, the sub-adults are driven out of the group. This behavior prevents inbreeding. Little is known about this species’ lifespan in the wild, but based on studies in zoos it’s believed these gibbons can live up to 50 years.

Gibbons use their loud voices to defend their territories, and singing is essential in forming and maintaining pair-bonds. Younger, solitary males sing to find mates. Monogamously paired males and females sing duets early in the morning to assert their territory and reaffirm their relationship. Gibbon calls are species-specific; however, females generally make ascending calls while males use territorial barks and hoots.

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