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Black-thighed Falconet
Microhierax fringillarius

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: Black-sided Falconet, Malay Falconet.

Microhierax fringillarius
click to enlarge
Distribution: Indomalayan. Southern MYANMAR (Tenasserim)and southwestern THAILAND south through the Malay Peninsula, BORNEO (south of about 5N), BALI, JAVA, and SUMATRA. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: Kemp and Crowe (1994) found that all five species of Microhierax and the Pygmy Falcon, Polihierax semitorquatus, clustered separately from other falconet and Falco species, based on their analysis of 24 morphometric characters. This species is sometimes regarded as a race of the Collared Falconet, M. caerulescens, of Thailand. The only instance of allopatry in the genus Microhierax is in northwestern Borneo, where both this species and the endemic M. latifrons occur together.

Movements: Probably non-migratory.

Habitat and Habits: In the Malay Peninsula, it occurs in die-backs, clearings, and the edge of inland forest and secondary woodlands of all kinds, well out into partly wooded agricultural areas, parkland, and large, wooded gardens (Wells 1999). As with other falconets, it needs areas with tall dead snags for hunting perches and old woodpecker or barbet holes for roosting and nesting, from plains level to at least 1,700 m (Wells op cit.). Roost holes are used by resident pairs year round, including as rain shelters (Molesworth 1955), and C.B. and D.W. Frith (fide Wells 1999) watched six birds enter a dead tree hole, raising the possibility of social roosting by members of more than one brood. In Sumatra, Thiollay (1996) found that this species utilized more habitat types than any other diurnal raptor species, occurring in primary forest on dead emergent trees to open habitats with single isolated dead palms in agricultural clearings.

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds mostly on arthropods, including alate termites, butterflies, and moths, dragonflies, carpenter bees, beetles, large orthopterans (grasshoppers, mantids), cicadas, and less often on birds (Batchelor 1958, Kemp and Crowe 1994, Madoc 1956, Molesworth 1955, Pagden 1995). Hunts socially, in pairs or family parties of up to five birds, less often alone, and makes sallies from 100-200 m out from a favored exposed perch, usually 5 m or more high with a 360 view (Wells 1999). Prey is snatched with the feet in free space at all levels, or in swerving dashes through a tree crown, occasionally from surfaces, including the ground (Wells op cit.). After a successful capture, prey is brought back to a perch to be eaten. more....

Breeding: Nests are are in old nest holes of woodpeckers and larger barbets, including Gold-whiskered Barbets (Molesworth 1955), or in cavities in rocky cliffs or limestone walls. Clutch size is four eggs, but only two, rarely three, young usually fledge (Wells 1999). more....

Conservation: Common within its rather limited range. Categorized as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International.

Important References: 
Clark, W.S. 1994. Black-thighed Falconet. P. 256 in del Hoyo, J., A.
  Elliott, and J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New
  World vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Kemp, A.C., and T.M. Crowe. 1994. Morphometrics of falconets and hunting
  behaviour of the Black-thighed Falconet Microhierax fringillarius. Ibis
Khoo, C. 2009. Hunting behaviour of Black-thighed Falconets Microhierax
during their nesting period. Suarra Enggang 17:8-10.
van Balen, B.S. 1998. Tropical forest raptors in Indonesia: recent
  information on distribution, status, and conservation. Journal of Raptor
  Research 32:56-63.

Kasorndorkbua, Chaiyan

Last modified: 5/3/2010

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Black-thighed Falconet Microhierax fringillarius. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 4 Jun. 2020

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