Macaca sylvanus (Barbary macaque)

Barbary macaques, Macaca sylvanus, are large Old World monkeys found in mountainous regions of Algeria and Morocco and on Gibraltar.

The population of Barbary macaques is declining and they are becoming a threatened species. Numbers are falling because the Barbary macaques are losing their habitat to human activity such as logging and overgrazing

Species detail

Barbary macaques are the only living macaque found outside Asia and the only African primate found north of the Sahara (other than humans).

  • Two Barbary macaques sitting on a rock

    Learn about the appearance of Barbary macaques and the evolutionary history of the species, which dates back to Africa around 7 million years ago.

  • The Rock of Gibraltar
    Distribution and habitat

    Discover where in the world Barbary macaques can be found and learn about the type of habitat they live in.

  • Macaca sylvanus

    Get information regarding the size and life expectancy of Barbary macaques.

  • Macaca sylvanus

    Barbary macaques live in groups averaging 27 individuals and they have a diverse range of facial and visual expressions to help communicate with each other. Find out more about the behaviour of Macaca sylvanus.

  • Macaca sylvanus

    Discover why Macaca sylvanus is now a threatened species.

  • Macaca sylvanus

    Get reference material for Macaca sylvanus.


Macaca sylvanus

Barbary macaques are the only living macaque found outside Asia.

Macaca sylvanus sitting on a rock

Morphological evidence suggests an early divergence of Macaca sylvanus from other extant macaques.

The Rock of Gibraltar

The Rock of Gibraltar - a large and long-established semi-wild colony of Barbary macaques is present on Gibraltar.

Macaca sylvanus

Barbary macaques can live for up to 30 years.

Macca sylvanus

Data on the reproductive parameters of a semi free-ranging population of Barbary macaques revealed a strongly seasonal distribution of births, with birth taking place between mid-March and the beginning of August. 

Macaca sylvanus communicating with each other

Barbary macaques have a diverse range facial and visual expressions for communicating.

Macaca sylvanus

Barbary Macaques are a threatened species.

About the author

Louise Humphrey
Dr Louise Humphrey

Researcher, Department of Palaeontology.

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