Pied Falconet (Microhierax melanoleucos)

The Pied Falconet, Fauconnet Noir-et-blanc or Falconete Pío (Microhierax melanoleucos) is found in the temperate forests of Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Hong Kong, India, Laos and Vietnam. These small birds of prey are usually seen in pairs or groups of up to 5.

Description

These are the smallest falcons in the world, averaging 6 inches or 15cm in length and weighing aroudn 1.23 oz or 35 g. They are only slightly larger than a sparrow!

The upper parts and sides are mostly glossy black. Some have a thin white line across the base of the cere (- soft skin surrounding the nostrils), over the eyes and down to the breast giving the appearance of a white face with large black eye patches. There are some white spots on the inner wing and narrow white bars on the inner part of its tail. Below it is white, with some black mottling on the breast.

The eyes (irises) are bright brown, and the cere and feet are black to brownish black.

Breeding / Nesting

Nests are usually made in holes of dead trees and may be used for more than a year. The average clutch consists of three or four white eggs laid in early March. The young usually fledge in mid-May.

Diet / Feeding

It feeds on insects, small mammals, reptiles and small birds. In fact, this bold and powerful falconet preys on birds as large as thrushes – very much larger than itself.

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