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Collared Falconet
Microhierax caerulescens

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: Himalayan Redbreasted Falconet (caerulesens), Red-breasted Falconet, Red-legged Falconet, Red-thighed Falconet.

Microhierax caerulescens
click to enlarge
Distribution: Indomalayan. Northern INDIA, NEPAL, BHUTAN, and BANGLADESH, and disjunctly in MYANMAR, THAILAND, LAOS, CAMBODIA, and VIETNAM. more....

Subspecies: 2 races. M. c. burmanicus: MYANMAR east to central and southern Indochina; M. c. caerulescens: Eastern Himalayas of INDIA, NEPAL, BHUTAN, and BANGLADESH.

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. Clark (1994) regarded the races of this species as weakly differentiated.

Movements: Irruptive or local migrant and also an altitudinal migrant in some areas (Bildstein 2006). Naoroji (2006) mentioned that it is prone to extensive local movements, which are poorly documented.

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in deciduous to moist-deciduous and evergreen forest-dwelling species, most often observed hunting in man-made clearings with dead or isolated trees, which are used as lookouts or hunting posts (Naoroji 2006). Rasmussen and Anderton (2005) described the habitat as forest edges, clearings, and open woodlands. According to Naoroji (op cit.), it rarely spends a long time on any given perch, but moves quickly from one tree to another, then abruptly flying for a considerable distance to another foraging area (making it difficult to study!). In contast, Rasmussen and Anderton 92005) stated that it perches motionless for long periods of time on tall snags. Usually seen singly or in pairs, but sometimes found in groups of up to seven individuals (Naoroji op cit.). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds chiefly on insects, especially butterflies, but also dragonflies, lantern flies, grasshoppers, beetles, and cicadas, and also takes small forest and open habitat birds and lizards (Ali and Ripley 1968, Naoroji 2006). Hunts from prominent lookout perches, darting out repeatedly on short, rapid, often low swooping sorties, mainly hawking insects on the wing, but occasionally capturing them on the ground (Naoroji op cit.). Birds are caught on the ground in open spaces, or in swift aerial pursuits. more....

Breeding: Nests in cavities in trees, often in holes positioned on the underside of a bare branch, and nest holes are half-filled with a bed-like layer of dried leaves and insect parts (Naoroji 2006). Clutch size is usually four eggs, which are white and unmarked (Naoroji op cit.). Both sexes incubate, but the female does so for longer periods, and both sexes feed the young. Cooperative breeding was reported for the race burmanicus by Kemp and van Zyl (1998), who observed two almost fledged young being attended by five adults and fed by at least three, including two males and the breeding female. more....

Conservation: Fairly common in parts of India, but uncommon in Nepal, Bhutan, and probably Bangladesh (Naoroji 2006). There is little information of population trends in this species, and it is poorly studied in most parts of its range. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Important References: 
Ali, S., and S.D. Ripley. 1968. Handbook of the birds of India and
  Pakistan. Vol. 1., Divers to hawks. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
Baker, E.C.S. 1928. The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and
  Burma. Vol. 5. 2nd ed. Taylor & Francis, London.
Baker, E.C.S. 1935. The nidification of the birds of the Indian Empire.
  Vol. 4. Taylor & Francis, London.
Clark, W.S. 1994. Collared Falconet. P. 255-256 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., and A. van Zyl. 1998. Co-operative breeding by Collared
  Falconets Microhierax caerulescens. Forktail 13:131-132.
Naoroji, R.. First breeding record of the Collared Falconet Microhierax
for the Indian subcontinent in Corbett National Park, Uttar
  Pradesh. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 94:267-272.
Naoroji, R. 2006. Birds of prey of the Indian subcontinent. Christopher
  Helm, London.
Rasmussen, P.C., and J.C. Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: the Ripley
  guide. Vols. 1-2. Smithsonian Institution and Lynx Edicions, Washington,
  D.C. and Barcelona, Spain.
Sivakumar, S., H. Singha, and V. Prakash. 2004. Notes on the population
  density and feeding ecology of the Collared Falconet Microhierax
in Buxa Tiger Reserve, West Bengal, India. Forktail
Sparks, J.H. 1965. Clumping and allo-preening in the Red-thighed Falconet
  Microhierax caerulescens burmanicus. Ibis 107:247-248.

Sites of Interest:
Collared Falconet photos.

Deshmukh, Ajit
Kasorndorkbua, Chaiyan

Last modified: 3/4/2010

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Collared Falconet Microhierax caerulescens. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 4 Jul. 2020

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