Pygmy Falcon - Polihierax semitorquatus
The pygmy falcon is the smallest diurnal raptor, at around 20 cm in length. The pygmy falcon is white below and has a white face, with a grey head. The flight feathers are black with white spots and the tail is black with white bars. The female has a chestnut back and the males have a grey back. The legs are pink to orange in colour.
The pygmy falcon’s main prey is small reptiles and insects, but will occasionally prey on small birds and rodents. This falcon hunts from a perch, swooping down on potential prey.
The pygmy falcon is monogamous. This falcon uses the nests of sociable weavers or buffalo weavers to nest, taking over an unused nest chamber.
The pygmy falcon is directly linked to the distribution of the sociable weaver, with the weaver nests being used for nesting and roosting. This cooperative behaviour is beneficial to both species, the falcon gains a readymade nest, the weaver gains protection from some predators.
The pygmy falcon is most active at early morning and late afternoon, roosting during the heat of the day.
The pygmy falcon is found in arid to semi-arid flat grassland areas, with scattered camelthorn trees, in the Northern Cape of South Africa and throughout the Namib.