Black-thighed Falconet – juveniles/family

on 24th May 2019
Juvenile feeding on a carpenter bee.

“Black-thighed Falconets (Microhierax fringillarius) are one of the most difficult raptors to image or watch well, due to the small size and fast speed. The common nesting sites for Black-thighed Falconets in the city are small holes in limestone cliffs scatted around the city. I have seen a number of nests over the years.

Juvenile feeding on a carpenter bee.

“This particular family was nesting ~40 meters up a cliff surface in a small crack and had recently fledged. They return to the nest at night to roost. I initially thought there were 5 juveniles today, as I had seen 3 on a branch and 2 more still in the nest. But after watching for ~2 hours I recognised that it was 4 juveniles with 2 adults and 1 helper adult.

Juvenile feeding on a carpenter bee.

“The juveniles were kept on a high tree branch and adults hunted some distance away, up to 50-60 meters. Prey was brought to juveniles carried in the feet but delivered using the beak. Prey was killed before being present to juveniles. The primary prey brought to the juveniles today was dragonflies, although butterflies, bees and small birds are also documented.

Juvenile feeding on a carpenter bee.

“All four images above show one juvenile feeding on a Carpenter Bee, most likely the Xylocopa latipes (Tropical Carpenter Bee). The prey is held in one claw and small pieces are pulled off with the beak. Note the rufous on the parts of the head in the juveniles that are usually white in adults.

Three juveniles on a branch waiting to be fed.
Two juveniles offering front and back views.
Feeding episode.

“The above shows a feeding episode. It can be a melee, with them competing for the prey brought by the parent. Here two were demanding feeds and one got the dragonfly prey.

Juvenile biting into the bark of a branch.

“The above juvenile was a bit odd. I watched it (have a number of images) actually biting into the bark. It was not just cleaning the beak on the branch but I observed it bite into the branch with chips of bark/wood coming off.

Composite of juvenile (above) and adult (below) in flight.

“A composite image (superimposed to allow for comparison) of the juvenile (above) and adult in flight. The family was flying around as parents were encouraging juveniles to move to a new feeding site.

An adult Black-thighed Falconet.

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
15th May 2019

Location: Ipoh City, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Limestone hills at outskirts of the city

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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