Species of Thailand
Thai: เหยี่ยวแมลงปอขาดำ, yiew malaeng po khaa dam
Binomial name: Microhierax fringillarius, Pierre Auguste Joseph Drapiez, 1824
The black-thighed falconet (Microhierax fringillarius) is one of the smallest birds of prey, typically measuring between 14 – 16 cm long, with a wingspan, which is a size comparable to a typical sparrow. It is native to Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
This is a minute, shrike-like falcon, with a squarish tail that is frequently spread. The adult male is glossy black above, with a white forehead streak that arcs around black cheeks. It has a white or rufous-washed throat, with a white breast shading into a rufous abdomen. Its thighs and flanks are black, as is its cere and legs. In flight the male has white wings underneath with black barring on the primaries and secondary flight feathers, and light streaking on the underwing coverts. There are three white bars underneath on the otherwise plain black tail.
The adult female is similar to the adult male, except the tail is longer. The juvenile is similar to the adults, except that the white areas of the head are rufous.
The voice is a hard, high-pitched cry shiew and a fast repeated kli-kli-kli-kli.
The typical habitat is forest, forest edge and wooded open area. It can also frequently be found around human cultivation, villages, and near active slash-and-burn forest clearance; often by rivers, streams, and paddy fields. It mostly lives below 1, 500m elevation.
This falconet mainly feeds on insects, including moths, butterflies, dragonflies, alate termites and cicadas, occasional small birds, and lizards. Feeding behavior appears to often be social, with feeding parties up to ten recorded. Much of the prey is taken during quick flights from a perch.
Sociosexual Behavior and Breeding
This falconet is generally social and gregarious, often found in loose pairs or groups of ten or more. The breeding season for this falcon varies by location, with populations up to the North of the equator breeding mostly in February–June. To the South of the equator, egg-laying is recorded in Java in November–December.
This falconet usually uses old nest holes of barbets, or occasionally old woodpecker holes. No material is added in the cavity aside from insect remains. The typical clutch size is between 2-5 eggs. Incubation and fledging periods are unknown. The nest hole may be used as a roost by adults year-round.
There is no data on population densities, but like many tiny falconets, the total numbers are probably under-recorded. The overall range extends more than 1.5 million km2. Population assessments vary from common (in Sumatra and Borneo), to fairly common (in Thailand), to scarce (in Java and Bali).
In any case, the population seems to be in the upper tens of thousands, and appears to be tolerant of habitat disturbance.
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Videos of Black-thighed falconet
- Microhierax fringillarius
- Thai: เหยี่ยวแมลงปอขาดำ, yiew malaeng po khaa dam
Least Concern (IUCN3.1)
No photo for this species yet
- Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
- Kaeng Krachan District, Phetchaburi
- Kaeng Krachan National Park
- Khao Chong
- Khao Luang National Park
- Khao Phra - Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary
- Khao Sok National Park
- Khao Yai National Park
- Kui Buri National Park
- Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
- Mueang Phang Nga District, Phang Nga
- Nong Plak Phra Ya – Khao Raya Bangsa Non-hunting
- San Kala Khiri National Park
- Sri Phang-nga National Park
- Thale Ban National Park
Range map of Microhierax fringillarius in Thailand
Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.
Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.
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