A white-handed gibbon swinging in a tree


Gibbons are the acrobats of the primate world. These lesser apes live in small family troops in the rainforest treetops of south east Asia, defending their territories with visual displays and musical duets. They are masters of movement in the trees, swinging through the branches using their remarkably long forearms, and covering over nine metres in a single leap. Unfortunately, most species in this family are under threat from deforestation.

Scientific name: Hylobatidae

Rank: Family

Common names:

  • Hylobatidae,
  • Lesser apes


Map showing the distribution of the Gibbons taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

Explore this group

BBC News about Gibbons

Elsewhere on the BBC