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François’ Langur
Trachypithecus francoisi



Fascinating Facts

  • François’ langurs are also known as François’ leaf monkeys, brow-ridged langur and white-sideburned black leaf monkey. The acrobatic skills of the François’ langur could make a human performer envious. Take a look at their lofty enclosure – see how easily the François’ move from ground to aerial levels. The “harem” often rests on a narrow ledge 40 feet above the ground, carrying on its various family activities – grooming and nursing offspring – with seeming nonchalance. This species was first brought to notice by M. François of the French Consul at Lungchow, China, who observed groups of these animals on rocky shores between Nanning and Kuohua. The Zoo’s François group originally came to San Francisco as a gift from the People’s Republic of China.


    Physical Characteristics

    François’ langurs are a smallish monkey weighing about 13 pounds, with a very slender body and a tail that is very long and thin, measuring about three feet in length. These langurs are characterized by their fine fur and are solid black except for the white band that occurs from the angle of the mouth across the cheeks to the ears. The head has a pointed coronal crest.

    Newborns are red all over, which makes it one of the easiest to spot of any primate infant. Occasionally, a baby François may be white or brown, but normally newborns are bright red/orange. This color changes slowly and reaches black at one year of age.


    François’ langurs are found in Southeast Asia from southeastern China to central Laos and Vietnam. The François are both arboreal and terrestrial, and are often found in rocky areas.

    In the wild, these beautiful monkeys eat a diet made up largely of leaves, as well as fruit, flowers and cultivated crops. As leaf eating monkeys, long periods of rest are required for the long digestive process. At the Zoo, the François group are fed a diet of leaves, fruit and monkey chow.

    Social Behavior

    François’ langurs typically live in small family groups consisting of one adult male, a “harem” of adult females, and offspring. The female and her new infant are the center of attention and all females take an active interest in the care of the infant. The infant niece or nephew is released to an “aunt” for babysitting intervals around the third week of life, while the mother goes foraging for food.

    Status In The Wild

    Listed as Endangered as there is reason to believe the species has declined by at least 50% over the past 36 years (3 generations, given a generation length of 12 years) due primarily to habitat loss and hunting. In Guangxi province, China, the threat of hunting is extremely severe, due to the illegal production of "black ape wine," which is made specifically from this species; the animals are even imported illegally from Vietnam for this purpose.


    The Zoo’s group of François’ langurs can be found in the Primate Discovery Center.