The White-handed gibbon, like the gorilla, chimpanzee and orangutan, is an ape, not a monkey. The chief characteristics distinguishing apes from monkeys are the absence of a tail, their more or less upright posture and the high development of their brain. The White-handed gibbon has a black to pale brown or yellowish-gray fur body, with white hair framing a black naked face.
- The palms of the hand and soles of the feet are also free of fur and white in color, hence its name.
- White-handed gibbons brachiate, or swing by the arms, from branch to branch horizontally and vertically.