Lion-Tailed Macaque Fact File


Lion-tailed macaques have a body covered with silky black fur. Around the face is a large mane of silvery white fur. Their face is hairless and colored black.

Their name comes from the pointy tuft at the end of their tail which resembles that of a lion. Males have a larger tuft compared to females. This tail measures between 24 and 38cm (9.5-15in).

They have hazelnut colored eyes.

On the buttocks they have tough pads of skin which mean they can sit or sleep on tree branches for long periods of time.

Males lion tailed macaques are larger than the females potentially by twice as much. An average length for their body is between 40 and 61cm (15.75-24in) long and a weight of between 3 and 10kg (6.6-22lbs).


The lion-tailed macaque is an omnivore. Their diet includes leaves, fruits, flowers, nuts, roots, seeds, eggs, insects and fungi. On occasion they may also feed on small animals.

They have cheek pouches that are large enough to store as much food as their stomach can. This allows them to carry additional food while they are foraging.

lion tailed macaque

Scientific Name

Macaca silenus

Conservation Status



3-10kg (6.6-22lbs)


40-61cm (15.75-24in)


Wild 20 years

Captive 40 years



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Asia is the native home of the lion-tailed macaque. Here they can be found in India where they live in the south of the country. Their range is rather small and highly fragmented.


Most of their habitat covers tropical evergreen forests. Some of their populations are also found in monsoon forest.

In areas where humans have developed the forest they may persist in plantations such as those of jack fruit and guava.

lion tailed macaque


When females are receptive to mating they develop a swelling under the tail. Mating occurs throughout much of the year but births are concentrated in February and March.

A single infant is born following a gestation period of 170 days. It will initially cling to its mothers chest or back and drink milk until it is weaned at 15 months old.

At birth the young have soft fur which develops in to the mature fur of adults by two months old.

Females are sexually mature by four years old while males mature by eight years old. The females will remain with their mothers troop while males go off and join a bachelor group until they are ready to challenge for leadership of their group.


Lion-tailed macaques live in groups of between 10 and 20 individuals. Each group is led by a single dominant male. Young males will form bachelor groups.

On the rare occasion they come to the ground lion-tailed macaques are successful swimmers.

The lion-tailed macaque will communicate with other members of their troop through vocal calls, facial expressions and posture.

The tail is used to communicate dominance. Dominant animals hold their tail up when walking while non-dominant animals will keep their tail down.

lion tailed macaque

Predators and Threats

Natural predators of the lion-tailed macaque include birds of prey such as serpent eagles and the Asian wild dog or dhole. Humans impact their population through hunting and collection for the pet trade, the meat trade and use in traditional medicines.

Due to fragmentation and isolation of their habitat their is an increase in inbreeding which is leading to a reduction in genetic diversity.

Their population takes a long time to recover from any losses owing to a long interbirth interval, competition for mates and the availability of the resources needed to raise young.

Quick facts

Lion-tailed macaques are also known as wanderoos or the bearded monkey.

A stamp featuring the lion-tailed macaque has been released in India.

lion tailed macaque

Photo Credits

Under License


Singh, M., Kumar, A. & Kumara, H.N. 2020. Macaca silenus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T12559A17951402. Downloaded on 02 January 2021.

Bristol Zoo. 2021. Lion-Tailed Macaques | Bristol Zoo. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 2 January 2021].

Fota Wildlife Park. 2021. Lion-Tailed Macaque. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 2 January 2021].

Abrams, S., 2021. Lion-Tailed Macaque. [online] New England Primate Conservancy. Available at: <> [Accessed 2 January 2021].

Strawder, N. 2001. "Macaca silenus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed January 01, 2021 at

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