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Trachypithecus leucocephalus | White-headed Langur


Good spot: Chongzuo Eco-Park, Chongzuo Nature Reserve, Guangxi Province, China

Adult White-headed Langur

© Niu Kefeng

Chongzuo Eco-Park, China




Taxonomy & Occurrence

Trachypithecus leucocephalus is a monotypic species (no subspecies). It is found in Guangxi Province, China.

It was first described as a new species of genus Presbytis and named as the Flower Langur or the White-headed Langur (Presbytis leucocephalus) in 1955 [1]. It was later recognised as a species of genus Trachypithecus. Since then, its status as a species or a subspecies of the François’ Langur (Trachypithecus francoisi) had been debated for more than 40 years. While some recognised its independent species status [1,2,3], others considered it a subspecies (T. f. leucocephalus) [4,5,6]. 

The White-headed Langur is morphologically and genetically closely related to the Cat Ba Langur, which resulted in yet another debate of its affinity as a species, or subspecies. However, with regard to its distribution, these two langurs do not overlap. While the White-Headed Langur is found in the southern Guangxi Province in China, the Cat Ba Langur is restricted to a few limestone hills on Cat Ba Island on the Lan Ha Bay in Vietnam.

Currently, it is recognised as a distinct species separate from Cat Ba Langur of Vietnam [7].


IUCN Conservation Status

Critically Endangered


Seeing this Species

2008 New York Times article describes the work of Chinese biologist Pan Wenshi in saving this species. 


Chongzuo Eco-Park, Chongzuo Nature Reserve, Guangxi Province, China

This reserve is small (24 sq km) and quite close to the Vietnam border. In the article it sounds as if, ironically, even as the langurs and forest are recovering, the langurs are actually becoming harder to see. All the reforestation is blocking them!  


Probability of success: ?


Overlapping species


Other sites:


Local contacts

[1] Tan B., 1955. Apes in China. Bulletin of Biology 3: 17-23 (in Chinese).

[2] Eudey A.A., 1987. Action Plan for Asia Primate Conservation. IUCN-The World Conservation Union.

[3] Lu L.R. & Li Z.Y., 1991. On taxonomy of white-headed leaf monkey. Journal of Guangxi Normal University 11: 12-16 (in Chinese).

[4] Li Z. & Ma S., 1980. The taxonomy of white-headed langur. Acta Taxonomica Sinica 5: 440-442 (in Chinese).
[5] Shen L. & Li H., 1982. White-headed leaf monkey in Guangxi. Journalof Guangxi Normal College 3: 71–80 (in Chinese).

[6] Wang W., Forstner M.R.J., Zhang Y.P., Liu Z.M., Wei Y., Huang H.Q., Hu H.G., Xie Y.X., Wu D.H. & Melnick D.J., 1997. A phylogeny of Chinese leaf monkeys using mitochondrial ND3-ND4 gene sequences. International Journal of Primatology 18, 305-320.

[7] Mittermeier R.A., Rylands A.B. & Wilson D.E., 2013. Handbook of the Mammals of the World: Primates. Vol. 3. Lynx Edicons: Barcelona.



Page Last Updated: 3 July 2022

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