An understanding of the diversity and distribution patterns of Hainan gibbon (Nomascus hainanus) foods is essential to its conservation. We used data from plots in various successional stages and Pinus merkusii plantations (PF) of Bawangling National Nature Reserve (BNNR) to compare variations in food species diversity and composition amongst forest types. A total of 85 food species and 16,882 food plants individuals were found across forest types. Habitat-exclusive food species were most abundant in old growth natural forest (OGF), followed by mid-aged natural secondary forest (MSF). We did not find exclusive species in PF. For all food species, as well as each stem size class, PF displayed a lower species richness and abundance and, in addition, less similar species composition in each age class compared to secondary forests. The highest stem density and species richness were found in MSF. The abundance of food trees was higher in MSF and OGF than in young natural secondary forest. Results suggested that MSF could serve as an alternative habitat for Hainan gibbons after short-term recovery. Hainan gibbons might be limited to secondary forests older than 25 years old. PF was found to be unsuitable for Hainan gibbons.