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Philippine Falconet
Microhierax erythrogenys

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: 

Microhierax erythrogenys
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Distribution: Indomalayan. Endemic to PHILIPPINES.

Subspecies: 2 races. M. e. erythrogenys: Philippines (Luzon, Mindoro, Negros, Catanduanes, and Bohol Islands); M. e. meridionalis: Philippines (Calicoan, Samar, Leyte, and Cebu to Mindanao Islands). more....

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. Based on nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene, Wink and Sauer-Gürth (2000, 2004) also found that this species and the Pygmy Falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus) represent sibling genera which form a sister group to the larger monophyletic Falco assemblage.

Movements: Probably non-migratory.

Habitat and Habits: Found in open forest, clearings, and forest edges from lowlands to mid-montane forests (Kennedy et al. 2000). Occurs, singly, in pairs, or in family groups, and stays in the canopy or upper branches of dead trees on an exposed perch (Kennedy et al. op cit.). Miranda (ca. 1990) found this species in large tracts of lowland and upper dipterocarp primary forest and selectively logged areas from 300 to 1,200 m in areas of Luzon and Mindanao.

Food and Feeding Behavior: Hawks prey from an exposed perch, usually a bare branch at the top of an emergent tree, capturing some in mid-air (dragonflies and small birds), some on trees (lizards), and others on the ground before returning to the original perch or a nearby one to feed. Like other falconets, this species does not hover or soar. Miranda (ca. 1990) found that insects comprised over 99% of the diet and that dragonflies were the most frequently captured prey item (69.4%). This species has also been observed feeding upside down on wasp nests (Kennedy et al. 2000). It sometimes forages communally, perhaps in family groups, and Miranda (op cit.) observed as many as six individuals hunting from the same tree simultaneously. more....

Breeding: Breeding has been recorded from September to February (Miranda ca. 1990) and in October and from March to June, according to Kennedy et al. (2000). Nests are located in cavities in dead trees at forest edges from 6-8 m high (Miranda op cit.). As many as four young are reared (Kennedy et al. op cit.). more....

Conservation: Miranda (ca. 1990) conducted one of the few field studies of this species in 1989-1990, and his surveys revealed that it still existed in "safe numbers" in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Luzon and the provinces of Isabela, Aurora, Quezon, Laguna, and eastern Mindanao, including Mount Apo. He did not find it in the remnant forest in Cebu National Park, however, and he thought that it might be extirpated from Cebu. He suggested that the replacement of native forests with exotic tree plantations was disadvantageous to this species, which requires clearings and forest edge situations for foraging. Categorized as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International.

Important References: 
Clark, W.S. 1994. Philippine 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.
Kennedy, R.S., P.C. Gonzales, E.C. Dickinson, H.C. Miranda, Jr., and T.H.
2000. A guide to the birds of the Philippines. Oxford University
  Press, Oxford, UK.
Miranda, H.C., Jr. 1990? The population status and foreaging ecology of
  the Philippine Falconet Microhierax erythrogenys. Unpublished report to the
  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 28 pp.
Wink, M., and H. Sauer-Gürth. 2000. Advances in the molecular systematics
  of African raptors. Pp. 135-147 in R.D. Chancellor and B.-U. Meyburg (eds.),
  Raptors at risk. World Working Group on Birds of Prey/Hancock House,
  Berlin/Blaine, WA.
Wink, M., and H. Sauer-Gürth. 2004. Phylogenetic relationships in diurnal
  raptors based on nucleotide sequences of mitochondrial and nuclear marker
  genes. Pp. 483-498 in R.D. Chancellor and B.-U. Meyburg (eds.), Raptors
  worldwide. World Working Group on Birds of Prey, Berlin, and MME/BirdLife
  Hungary, Budapest.
Wolfe, L.R. 1938. Notes on the birds of central Luzon. Auk 55:198-224.

Last modified: 7/4/2011

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2019. Species account: Philippine Falconet Microhierax erythrogenys. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 20 Feb. 2019

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