Collared Falconet Microhierax caerulescens
- Microhierax : Greek word mikros small ; hierax hawk
- Caerulescens : Latin word for Bluish
Vernacular Names: Lepcha: Ching fin nyel, Cachar: Daoling kashiba, Hindi: Ching fin Niyal
Distribution in India: Resident of Himalayas and North East Orissa.
Smallest Falcon in India
Description: Size of 17-18 cm. A falconet is very shrike-like in size and behaviour, with shortish wings and mid-length tail, half-feathered legs and powerful legs. Thick black eyestripe and glossy black upperparts, rufous throat, belly and legs, and white collar distinctive; in flight from below has white underwing-coverts, barred flight feathers and tail, and blackish primary tips. Female very similar to male, but slightly larger and tends to have more white in wing, with nuchal collar less conspicuous. Juvenile has rufous brow and forehead, and white throat, also yellowish bill. Bare parts: dark brown eyes, greenish-black cere and dark slate to black legs.
Habitat: It is found in open deciduous forest, plantations and evergreen forest edge, often near rivers or streams, and abandoned cultivation with trees, from sea-level up to 2000 m.
Food Habits: It eats large insects, especially butterflies, moths, dragonflies, orthopterans and beetles, as well as small birds, like pipits, swallows, Nepal House Martin and Crested Treeswift .Also eats small lizards (and mammals. Hunts from exposed perch in dead tree or large open tree above forest canopy at forest edge, or along stream or river. It occasionally hunts in small groups of up to seven individuals. Electric wires and posts also used as hunting perches. Prey like insects usually taken in the air, but also from leaves and small branches. They are captured after swift, powerful, shrike-like attack flight; taken back to same perch for consumption. Tends to be most active around dusk, sometimes catching moths. Perched bird frequently bobs head and tail.
Breeding Habits: Breeds in Mar-June in Europe and America. Their courtship includes allopreening. Nests in old nest of Barbets or woodpeckers, occasionally in holes in buildings or natural tree holes, no material is added to the nests. It lays a clutch of 4–5 eggs. The incubation period is 3 weeks. The chicks are born altricial. The fledging period is 28–32 days.