This Old World monkey is endemic exclusively to India. The Bonnet macaque is so called because of exhibiting a cap-like coil of fur on its head that points outward from the center. The overall coloration of this animal is dusky brown to golden yellow with red face as well as black ears and lower lip.
The Bonnet macaques are distributed throughout southern India in a territory, restricted to the Indian Ocean on three sides as well as the Godavari and Tapti Rivers. In the north, their range overlaps with that of related Rhesus macaques, with which these animals compete. Suitable habitats for this species are evergreen high forests and dry deciduous forests of the Western Ghat Mountains. Additionally, Bonnet macaques may occasionally be observed travelling into dry prairies.
Although the Bonnet macaques are able to live both on the ground and in trees, they usually spend much of their time on the ground. These macaques are generally diurnal animals. These highly social creatures form groups of 30 individuals on average, consisting of multiple males and females. When reaching maturity, males usually leave to find another group, whereas females continue living with their natal troop, gathering into sub-groups of related individuals. Social grooming is an important part of their daily life, enhancing interpersonal relationships and help them settle down conflicts. Meanwhile, this activity is not a one-way social behavior, where subordinate animals serve dominant ones, as in many primate species. Instead, all individuals take part in it, and dominant males of this species spend even more time grooming group members than do young males. Another common activity in Bonnet macaques is male-male mounting, often with dominant males mounting juveniles.
Bonnet macaques are omnivores, they generally feed upon fruits, nuts, cereals, seeds, leaves, berries, flowers and foliage, supplementing this diet with bird eggs and various invertebrates.
Bonnet macaques are polygynandrous (promiscuous) with both males and females having multiple partners. The breeding season largely depends on location. However, most breeding occurs in September-October. Gestation period lasts for 24 weeks on average, yielding a single baby, which remains close to its mother for 6 - 12 months. During this period, the female carries the baby either on her back or in her arms, nursing the infant for 6 - 7 months. Even after weaning, the young macaque is unable to provide itself with food and doesn't leave its mother until about 1 year old, by which time it has learnt to forage independently. The process of puberty in males is associated with full testicular enlargement, which takes 1 - 2 years, beginning at 3 years old and lasting until 4 - 5 years old. Females of this species are usually mature at 3 years old and are ready to produce offspring at 4 years old.
In some parts of their range, Bonnet macaques are hunted and sold for research and road shows. Those in agricultural and urban areas come into serious conflicts with humans, which pose another threat to this species.
This species is locally abundant. As stated by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, the four southern states of India hold about 170,000 Bonnet macaques. The population in Tamil Nadu is estimated to approximately 16,000 animals. Overall, Bonnet macaques are currently classified as Least Concern (LC), but their numbers are decreasing.
Due to their frugivory diet, these animals act as important seed dispersers of their forest habitat.