Black-legged Falconet (Microhierax fringillarius)

1269. Microhierax fringillarius.


The Black-legged Falconet.

 

Falco fringillarius, Drap. Diet. Class. d'Hist. Nat. vi, p. 412, pl. v (1824). Hierax caerulescens (L.), apud Vigors, Zool. Jour, i, p. 339 (1824); Blyth, J. A. S. B. xii, p. 180*; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 15; Sclater, P. Z. S. 1863, p. 206. Hierax fringillarius, Blyth, Cat. p. 17; id. Ibis, 1863, p. 11; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 281; Walden, Ibis, 1871, p. 161; Blyth & Wald. Birds Burm. p. 60. Microhierax fringillarius, Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i, p. 367 ; Davison, S. F. v, p. 80; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 5; Hume, Cat. no. 20 ter ; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 212; id. in Hume's N. & F. 2nd ed. iii, p. 183.

Coloration. Upper parts, wings, and tail black, glossed with metallic green; no white collar ; frontal and superciliary bands white, but much narrower than in M. eutolmus, and the black band from the eye broader; quills and all tail-feathers, except the middle pair, with white spots on the inner webs; lower parts white, more or less tinged with ferruginous red; flanks and thigh-coverts black.

Bill, legs, and feet black; irides wood-brown; orbital skin plumbeous (Davison).

Length of female 6.5; tail 2.25; wing 4; tarsus .75; bill from gape .55: a male measures—length 6, wing 3.7.

Distribution. The southern portion of Tenasserim as. far north-as 14° N. lat.; also the Malay Peninsula, Cochin China, Sumatra, Borneo, and Java.

Habits, &c. Similar to those of other species, but this, although smaller, is said to feed more on birds. It also lays white eggs in holes in trees.

M. latifrons, Sharpe (Ibis, 1879, p. 237, pl. vii), which is very similar to H. fringillarius, but is distinguished by having the crown white, and a black line through the eye to the nape separating the white crown from the white sides of the head, is said to have been Obtained from the Nicobars, the types being from Borneo. Although the Nicobar locality rests on fairly good authority (see S. P. viii, p. 496, and Ibis, 1881, p. 274), the name of the discoverer is not known, and as the evidence is at second-hand, I do not think it wise to admit the species without clearer proof.

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