The National Aviary parking lot will be closed Monday, September 29 & Tuesday, September 30 due to construction.

African Pygmy Falcon

(Polihierax semitorquatus)

FUN FACT

African pygmy falcons, unlike many species of raptors, have different markings to distinguish males and females – females have a brown patch between their wings, while males have a solid grey back.

This tiny species of falcon is the smallest raptor in Africa – adults are less than 8 inches long. Although small, they are predators, and hunt large insects, small reptiles, and even small mammals. They often hunt by perching on dead trees and scanning the surrounding area for potential prey. When they spot a target, African pygmy falcons can frequently be seen bobbing their heads and tails before swooping down to catch their prey. They may also hunt insects in flight.

Distribution

Eastern and southern Africa

Habitat

Arid to semi-arid savannah.

Diet

Large insects, small reptiles and rodents

Breeding

In the wild, African pygmy falcons often utilize the empty nests of weaver birds as nesting sites. They will also use tree cavities. They typically lay 3-4 eggs per clutch and their incubation is 28-30 days. Both parents help rear the chicks.

Status

Near Threatened

At the Aviary

The African Pygmy Falcons are part of our off-exhibit Endangered Species Breeding Program.