White-fronted Falconet (Microhierax latifrons)

White-fronted Falconet

[order] FALCONIFORMES | [family] Falconidae | [latin] Microhierax latifrons | [authority] Sharpe, 1879 | [UK] White-fronted Falconet | [FR] Fauconnet de Borneo | [DE] Weissscheitel-Falkchen | [ES] Falconete de Borneo | [NL] Borneo-dwergvalk


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Microhierax latifrons OR Borneo


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 sports a white forehead and crown. The rest of his upper parts are a glossy blue-black. There are a few white spots on the innermost secondaries, but none on the tail. The black of his upper side extends in a downward patch onto his neck, and the sides of his body and thighs. His under side is white, with chestnut on his belly and black mottlings in his wing coverts. The tail is black; the under-wing dark grey, barred white on its inner webs. The eyes are brown, the cere and feet black. The female differs from the male in having a chestnut, not white, forehead and crown. She is similar in size. It isThis the smallest bird of prey in the world.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 15 cm size max.: 17 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
      eggs max.: 0  


Oriental Region : Borneo. Microhierax latifrons is restricted to Sabah, Malaysia, where it is locally not uncommon. It is likely to have a moderately small population overall.


It is usually found in clearings in forest and can be seen in pairs, singly, or in family parties. It is fairly common on Mount Kinabalu up to the limit of cultivation at about 4,000 feet, but also occurring at sea level. It perches on dead trees in cultivation clearings, and during the heat of the day rests for an hour or so.


Hardly any data, nests with 2 and 3 fledglings have been reported. May use old woodpecker or barbet or natural tree cavities to nest. The nests were foundfrom 3 to 10 meter above ground. Young have been seen in November, suggesting that breeding may have taken place in September to October (the rainy season, and quite different to other falconets).

Feeding habits

Insects, especially dragonflies.

Video White-fronted Falconet


copyright: James Eaton


Although it is probably tolerant of some degree of habitat degradation, this diminutive falcon has a restricted range and is likely to be declining moderately rapidly owing to habitat degradation. It therefore qualifies as Near Threatened.
Forest destruction in the Sundaic lowlands of Indonesia and Malaysia has been extensive (Kalimantan lost nearly 25% of its evergreen forest during 1985-1997, and Sumatra lost almost 30% of its 1985 cover), because of a variety of factors, including the escalation of logging and land conversion, with deliberate targeting of all remaining stands of valuable timber including those inside protected areas, plus forest fires (particularly in 1997-1998), and declines are compounded by trapping for the cage-bird industry. However, the species’s use of secondary growth and higher elevations implies that it is not immediately threatened
White-fronted Falconet status Near Threatened



Distribution map

White-fronted Falconet distribution range map

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *