Collared Falconet (Microhierax caerulescens)

Collared Falconet

[order] FALCONIFORMES | [family] Falconidae | [latin] Microhierax caerulescens | [authority] Linnaeus, 1758 | [UK] Collared Falconet | [FR] Fauconnet a collier | [DE] Rotkehl-Falkchen | [ES] Falconete a collarado | [NL] Roodbroekdwergvalk


Monotypic species


Members of the genus Microhierax are the smallest of falcons. Their wings are pointed, the tail rounded and of medium length. The bill tends to be heavy with a well-developed tooth. Considering the size of the birds, they have very heavy feet and sharp, well curved talons. They are mostly boldly patterned and are often glossy black on the back. Immatures are not very different.
The genus is closely related to the other falconets Polihierax and Spiziapteryx. There are five species distributed from India to the Philippines.

Physical charateristics

The adult male has a black crown and white forehead, continuing in a streak above the eye and forming a broad white collar on the nape of the neck. There is a black streak through the eye. The rest of the upper parts are glossy black, with a little white showing on innermost secondaries and the tail quills. Below, the throat is a deep chestnut, separated from black moustachial streak by a white band. The breast and under-wing coverts are mostly white, with a rufous wash. The sides of the body are black, the thighs and under-tail coverts chestnut. The tail is black with four white bars. The eyes are brown, and the cere and feet black. Females and immatures are similar to the male; the female showing more white in the wings and with a less prominent white collar. Its very small size, (about that of a sparrow), black upper parts with white collar, and chestnut thighs and under-tail coverts should distinguish it from all other raptors. It can only be confused with its relative the Black-legged Falconet (Microhierax fringillarius), from which the white forehead distinguishes it, and the Pied Falconet (Micohierax melanoleucus), which lacks its white collar. In flight the white spots on the wings are visible

wingspan min.: 30 cm wingspan max.: 34 cm
size min.: 15 cm size max.: 18 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


Oriental Region : Northeast India through Southeast Asia. The Red-legged Falconet (Microhierax caerulescens) can be found in forests in India from the western Himalayas.


It is found in lightly forested country up to 5,500 feet. It prefers old cultivation clearings with dead trees and natural open spaces.


This bird roosts and breeds in old barbet or woodpecker holes in dead trees, in and out of the breeding season. Nest and roost holes may be high up, or only about twenty feet from the ground, often about thirty. The cavity is filled with the debris of insects. Four or five eggs are laid, dirty white, sometimes covered with small reddish spots or shins late in incubation, but probably pure white when laid, in February and March. The female carries out most, if not all of the incubating, and the birds are very aggressive to human intruders and other birds near the nesting site. No data on incubation or fledging period. Cooperative breeding was reported for the race burmanicus, two almost fledged young being attended by five adults and fed by at least three, including two males and the breeding female.

Feeding habits

This species, being very small, specialises in insects. It is likely that it also takes a few small bird species. Prey is chiefly caught in flight. Like other falconets this bird behaves more like a flycatcher or small shrike than like a falcon. It perches on dead branches, from which it makes short flights to catch insects, returning to eat them on the perch. It is shy and nervous, flying quickly from tree to tree and seldom resting for any length of time on one branch.

Video Collared Falconet


copyright: J. del Hoyo


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Collared Falconet status Least Concern


It is resident where it occurs and does not migrate.

Distribution map

Collared Falconet distribution range map

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