Last week I gave you this cute little bird of prey to have a go at identifying:
It didn’t prove to be much of a challenge, but I was impressed by the answers nonetheless. In particular, the first answer by Hilary Blagbrough is both a delightful poem and correct:
A little hunter from the east
that feasts on juicy dragonflies
In black and white is smartly dressed
No colours seen on legs or chest
Who is this with the panda eyes?
That of its sort, is not the least
So this mystery object is a bird of prey found in Asia. It’s very small and primarily feeds on insects, although it can take small mammals, reptiles and other birds of a similar size or smaller than itself. Since it’s a falcon, but smaller than expected, it’s called a falconet.
There are a few species of these falconets that are quite similar. However, as Hilary says, this one doesn’t have any colours on the legs or chest and it’s just black and white, without any patches of colour and it has discrete patches of black around the eyes. These features all suggest that this is the Pied Falconet Microhierax melanoleucos (Blyth, 1843).
There were several correct identifications on Twitter and more in the comments on the blog after Hilary’s poetic post. So well done to everyone who figured it out!