Sounds & Calls
All gibbon species are highly territorial, proclaiming their territory boundaries with exceptionally loud vocal displays. These vocalizations are often described as ‘song’, and are mostly heard early in the morning as pairs sing coordinated duets. The dominant female produces what is known as a ‘great call‘, a series of very loud notes which often accelerate in tempo and pitch. Each gibbon species has a distinctive song, and even within a single species, vocalizations can have regional ‘accents’. The complexity and structure of the ‘great call’ varies between species and because of this, is a reliable way of identifying which species may be present at a particular location.
On this page you will find examples of the sounds of the White-handed Gibbon (Hylobates lar). At the bottom of this page you will find a links to sounds of a number of other gibbon species.
Listen to White-handed Gibbon Sounds
The White-handed Gibbon (Hylobates lar) [also known as the Lar Gibbon] is a widespread species found in lowland and hill evergreen forests in Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, China as well as in northern Sumatra. The song of this species is a common sound at dawn in the rainforests throughout much of its range.
The audio in the video below features White-handed Gibbons singing in Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand. This cut includes several examples of the female gibbon loud sweeping ‘great call’.
White-handed Gibbon – Female great call (Malaysia)
B09h Female ‘great call’ from Taman Negara National Park in Malaysia. The great calls of females in the southern part of this species range (Peninsula Malaysia) differ somewhat to those further north.
White-handed Gibbon – Individual song at dawn
SD458b An individual White-handed Gibbon singing at dawn in Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand.
KT01 A male White-handed Gibbon singing at dawn in Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia.
License audio for use in documentaries, film, radio, sound installations and more…
Primate sounds from South-east Asia:
- Orangutan, Bornean (Pongo pygmaeus)
- Gibbon, Agile (Hylobates agilis)
- Gibbon, Mueller's (Hylobates muelleri)
- Gibbon, Pileated (Hylobates pileatus)
- Gibbon, White-handed (Hylobates lar)
- Langur, Banded (Presbytis robinsoni)
- Langur, Dusky (Trachypithecus obscurus)
- Leaf Monkey, Red (Presbytis rubicunda)
- Macaque, Long-tailed (Macaca fascicularis)
- Siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus)
The spectrogram images below illustrate typical differences in the female ‘great calls’ between northern and southern populations of White-handed Gibbons. Notice the high notes on the example on the left (from western Thailand) are steeper, more sweeping and reach a higher pitch than those in the example on the right (from Peninsula Malaysia).
Female great call of White-handed Gibbon (Hylobates lar) from Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand.
Female great call of White-handed Gibbon (Hylobates lar) from Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia.