Northern Grey Gibbon
Sounds & Calls

Golden Jackal (Canis aureus)

Northern Grey Gibbon (Hylobates funureus)

The Northern Grey Gibbon (Hylobates funereus) [also known as North Borneo Gibbon] is a small species of gibbon endemic to the tropical rainforests of northern and eastern Borneo. This species was previously considered a subspecies of Mueller’s Gibbon (Hylobates muelleri funereus) [ aka Bornean Gibbon] but has recently been recognized as a distinct species.

Similar to other gibbon species, Northern Grey Gibbons are highly vocal. The ‘great call’ of the female is characterized by accelerating whoops followed by a rapid series of bubbly notes. Male-female duets are an iconic sound of the Bornean rainforest at dawn.

Listen to samples of Northern Grey Gibbon sounds in the section below.

For more general information on gibbon song visit the White-handed Gibbon Sounds page.

Listen to Northern Grey Gibbon Sounds

In this video sample Northern Grey Gibbons can be heard singing at dawn in Tawau Hills Park, Sabah.


Northern Grey Gibbon – Duet

 MBT1 A pair duet from the Maliau Basin, Sabah. This cut includes several examples of the distinctive bubbly female ‘great call’ of this species.

Northern Grey Gibbon – Female ‘great call’

 T36 A long series of whoops from a female building up to a ‘great call’ at the end of this cut. Recorded in the Danum Valley, Sabah.

Northern Grey Gibbon – Several singing at dawn

 T36 A few pairs singing at dawn in the Danum Valley, Sabah.

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Spectrogram showing a typical female great call of the Bornean Gibbon – a series of relatively simple, accelerating upswept whoops building to a climax of bubbly staccato notes.

Conservation Issues

Due to the rampant destruction of Borneo’s lowland tropical rainforests, the Northern Grey Gibbon has suffered significant population loss and is now considered endangered. The expansion of oil palm plantations throughout Borneo is an ongoing threat to this species as well as countless others which depend on rainforest for their survival.

The photograph below is from the Danum Valley in northern Borneo, a stronghold for this species and an example of ideal gibbon habitat.

Lowland Tropical Rainforest in the Danum Valley, Borneo