Toque macaque (Macaca sinica)

Dryzone toque macaques with female grooming juvenile
Loading more images and videos...

Toque macaque fact file

Toque macaque description

GenusMacaca (1)

The toque macaque is a stocky monkey, characterised by an unusual whorl of hair on top of the head that grows from the central crown (2). The name toque macaque refers to this ‘cap’ of hair; toques are brimless hats. The coat is reddish or yellowish brown in colour and the underparts are paler (2). All individuals have cheek pouches, used to carry food whilst foraging (5), short, stout limbs and long tails (6). The skin on the face is naked; the ears, border of the eyelids and lower lip are pigmented black, with the remainder of the face pinkish in males, reddish in females (3). Males tend to be larger in size than females (2).

Macaque Couronné, Macaque Toque.
Macaca De Sri Lanka.
Head-body length: 43 - 53 cm (2)
Tail length: 47 - 62 cm (2)
Female weight: 2.3 – 4.3 kg (3)
Male weight: 4.1 – 8.4 kg (3)

Toque macaque biology

The toque macaque is active during the day and is equally at home in the trees and on the ground (2). It feeds on a wide range of fruit, leaves, crops and insects (2), and food is stuffed into the cheek pouches with both hands to be chewed later (6).

Macaques live in large groups of eight – 43 (average 20 – 25) with several adult males and females (3). Females tend to remain in the group they were born into, but males tend to disperse into new groups when they reach maturity (2) (5). Within groups, there is a strict dominance hierarchy; lower ranking individuals are ousted from good foraging areas and are less likely to survive to reproductive age than high-ranking individuals (5).

Breeding tends to take place in autumn, and females give birth to a single offspring after a gestation period of around five months (5) (2). The newborn young has a soft black natal coat in the first two months of life (2).


Toque macaque range


Toque macaque habitat

Occurs in gallery and semi-deciduous forests, scrub and by the edges of water courses, from lowlands to 1,500 metres elevation (2) (3).


Toque macaque status

The toque macaque (Macaca sinica) is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1), and is listed under Appendix II of CITES (4). The lowland wetzone toque macaque (subspecies Macaca sinica aurifrons), highland toque macaque (subspecies Macaca sinica opisthomelas) and dryzone toque macaque (subspecies Macaca sinica sinica) are all classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Toque macaque threats

The main threat affecting this species is habitat loss and damage as a result of wood extraction (1). In some areas they are caught for the local pet trade (6).


Toque macaque conservation

The toque macaque is not protected by Sri Lankan law. Conservation education programmes are required to encourage the protection of the species (6).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

For further information on the torque macaque see:




Authenticated (31/10/2005) by Matt Richardson, independent primatologist and writer.



The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth.
Site of birth.
A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.


  1. IUCN Red List (September, 2008)
  2. Macdonald, D. (2001) The New Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  3. Richardson, M. (2005) Pers. comm.
  4. CITES (September, 2008)
  5. The Primata (March, 2004)
  6. International Primate Protection League (March, 2004)

Image credit

Dryzone toque macaques with female grooming juvenile  
Dryzone toque macaques with female grooming juvenile

© Barney Wilczak /

NHPA/Photoshot Holdings Ltd
29-31 Saffron Hill
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7421 6003
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7421 6006


Link to this photo

Arkive species - Toque macaque (Macaca sinica) Embed this Arkive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to Arkive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about



MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite Arkive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!


Back To Top