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Pied Falconet
Microhierax melanoleucus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: Pied Pigmy Falcon, White-legged Falconet.

Microhierax melanoleucus
click to enlarge
Distribution: Indomalayan. Northeastern INDIA (Assam, Manipur) and eastern BANGLADESH (?) to eastern CHINA (Fuikan, Jiangsu) south to northern LAOS and northern VIETNAM; not yet recorded from MYANMAR. 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.

Movements: Irruptive or local migrant and also an altitudinal migrant (Bildstein 2006). Naoroji (2006) suggested that it is sedentary.

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in clearings and at edges of evergreen and deciduous woodland, in wooded foothills, or open country up to 1,500 m (Brazil 2009). Naoroji (2006) describes its preferences as a mix of heavy deciduous or evergreen forest and clearings, either man-made or natural, and often seen foraging along forest margins bordered by cultivation, natural grasslands dotted with trees, forest glades, and along the banks of rivers. Usually seen singly, or in pairs, but occurs in apparent family groups during certain periods (Naoroji 2006). Tame and confiding in the presence of humans (Ali and Ripley 1968). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds mainly on insects, including termites, beetles, butterflies, dragonflies, and grasshoppers, and also on small birds, lizards, and probably mice (Naoroji 2006). Hunts from an exposed perch, making dashing flights after small birds and large insects, or drops to the ground to capture prey (Brazil 2009). Takes insects on the wing and eats them in flight, or brings larger ones back to the original perch for dismemberment (Ali and Ripley 1968). Reputed to be more rapacious than the Collared Falconet, stooping on birds larger than itself in the manner of a large falcon (Naoroji op cit.). Sometimes hunts in groups. more....

Breeding: The breeding habits are poorly known. Nests in woodpecker or barbet holes, and clutch size is usually three or four eggs (Baker 1935). Most likely, the male shares in incubation duties. The incubation and nestling periods are undocumented. more....

Conservation: Poorly studied, and there is virtually no information on its population size or trends. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International.

Population Estimates: Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) suggested that the global population is in the "upper thousands, and not even reaching five figures."

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.
Bangs, O., and J. Van Tyne. 1931. Birds of the Kelley-Roosevelt Expedition
  to French Indo-China. Field Museum of Natural History, Zoological Series
Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and
  Russia. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
Clark, W.S. 1994. Pied 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.
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.

Last modified: 3/4/2010

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Pied Falconet Microhierax melanoleucus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 18 Jan. 2020

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