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White-fronted Falconet
Microhierax latifrons

Status: Near Threatened

Population Trend: Declining.

Other Names: Bornean Falconet.

Microhierax latifrons
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Distribution: Indomalayan. Endemic to northwestern Borneo (SABAH and SARAWAK). 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. The only instance of allopatry in the genus Microhierax occurs in northwestern Borneo where this species occurs with the widespread M. fringillarius.

Movements: Probably non-migratory.

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in primary and secondary forest, Albizia, and peat swamp (Sheldon et al. 2001). Occurs in forest-edge habiats and cultivation withn scattered trees up to 1,200 m (Mackinnon and Phillips 1993).

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds on insects and small birds (Sheldon et al. 2001). Thiollay (1983) observed one hunting large flying insects (butterflies and beetles) from high in a dead tree. A Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology party observed several congregating in the morning at a house in Silak, where they were catching sphinx moths attracted to lights during the previous night (Sheldon et al. 2001). The falconets readily flew out from exposed perches and caught moths that were "served up" to them by the observers, competing with Dollarbirds and White-breasted Wooodswallows for this easy prey.

Breeding: Phillipps (1970) reported two two-chick broods raised by a pair nesting at Sinsuran Road, Mile 16. The first two fledglings were observed in a hole in a fork of a small tree about 3 m from the ground in early November 1968. The second pair of fledglings emerged from an old barbet (?) hole ca. 10 m high in a dead tree in mid-June 1969. The Sabah Museum has records of a nest with three nestlings from a tree hole 6 m above the ground at Kampung Manggis on 14 June 1978 (Sheldon et al. 2001), and a female collected at Tiger Estate on 1 December 1962 had an old brood patch and a regressing oviduct (Thompson 1966). It is likely that this species is a communal breeder with several adults assisting in feeding the young, as is the case with the similar Collared Falconet (Microhierax caerulescens) (Kemp and Van Zyl 1998).

Conservation: Because of its limited range and ongoing habitat destruction, BirdLife International categorizes this species as "Near Threatened" and decreasing. However, despite widespread destruction of primary forests throughout its limited range, it appears to survive to some extent in modified habitats.

Important References: 
BirdLife International. 2000. Threatened birds of the world. Lynx Edicions
  and BirdLife International, Barcelona and Cambridge, UK.
Clark, W.S. 1994. White-fronted 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.
Gore, M.E.J. 1968. A check-list of the birds of Sabah, Borneo. Ibis
Guillemard, F.H.H. 1885. Report on the collection of birds obtained during
  the Voyage of the Yacht 'Marchesa.' Part II. Borneo and the Island of
  Cagayan Sulu. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1885:404-420.
Kemp, A.C., and T.M. Crowe. 1994. Morphometrics of falconets and hunting
  behaviour of the Black-thighed Falconet Microhierax fringillarius. Ibis
Phillipps, Q. 2011. Phillipps' field guide to the birds of Borneo. 2nd ed.
  John Beaufoy Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK.
Sheldon, F.H., R.G. Moyle, and J. Kennard. 2001. Ornithology of Sabah:
  history, gazetteer, annotated checklist, and bibliography. Ornithological
  Monographs no. 52. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
Wells, D.R. 1985. The forest avifuana of Western Malesia and its
  conservation. Pp. 213-232 in A.W. Diamond and T.E. Lovejoy (eds.),
  Conservation of tropical forest birds International Council for Bird
  Preservation, Cambridge, UK.

Last modified: 10/18/2012

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: White-fronted Falconet Microhierax latifrons. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 30 May. 2020

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