Black-thighed falconet

The smallest raptor of the entire world, being smaller than a house sparrow


The black-thighed falconet, despite its diminutive size, boasts an impressive presence among the diverse array of raptors inhabiting the lush forests and woodlands of Southeast Asia. Measuring just about the same size as a House Sparrow, this tiny member of the Falconidae family possesses remarkable agility and hunting prowess that belies its small stature. Found in countries such as Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, Java, and Bali, the black-thighed falconet has carved out a niche for itself in a variety of habitats, including woodland, forest borders, and clearings, where it can thrive at elevations below 1,200 meters (4,000 ft).

Despite its small size, the black-thighed falconet has a voracious appetite, primarily preying on large insects and small birds. Occasionally, it may even target larger birds, showcasing its opportunistic hunting behavior and adaptability. With its keen eyesight and lightning-fast reflexes, this tiny raptor is a formidable predator, capable of swiftly capturing its prey in mid-air or pouncing on unsuspecting victims from a concealed perch.

When it comes to nesting, the black-thighed falconet exhibits resourcefulness, utilizing a variety of cavities for its nest sites. Commonly, it selects abandoned tree nests or seeks out crevices in limestone cliffs to establish its breeding grounds. This adaptability in nest selection allows the falconet to maximize its reproductive success and ensure the survival of its offspring in diverse habitats.

Despite its small size, the black-thighed falconet has managed to maintain stable populations in the areas where it is distributed. Its ability to adapt to damaged habitats and tolerate human presence has contributed to its resilience in the face of environmental changes. As a result, it is not currently considered globally endangered, providing hope for the continued existence of this remarkable bird of prey in the forests of Southeast Asia.


Population est.
Sri Lanka
Seasonality Uncertain

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Flock

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No