Pygmy Falcon
African Pygmy Falcon
African Pygmy Falcon - Polihierax semitorquatus
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Order: Falconiformes
Family: Falconidae
Subfamily: Falconinae
Tribe: Polihieracini
Genus: Polihierax
Species: P. semitorquatus
Binomial name
Polihierax semitorquatus
(Smith, 1836)
Global range.
Green: Resident all year
Pink: Vagrant in Rwanda
See also text for recent range expansion.

The Pygmy Falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus) is a falcon and a member of the Falconidae family. It is the smallest raptor of the African continent and the smallest raptor of the world.

The species is monotypic, although northern birds are perhaps marginally larger and darker than southern birds,[1] otherwise monotypic.[2] Fuchs et al. (2015) found that the two species of Polihierax are not closely related, with the Pygmy Falcon closer to Microhierax and the White-rumped Falcon nearer Falco.[3]

Click for other names
Other common names It is also known as the African Pygmy Falcon.
Scientific Falco simitorquata [sic] A. Smith, 1836
  • Neohierax insignis, a similar species.


Similar species

White-rumped Falcon


It sometimes shows similar behaviours to shrikes.


It eats mainly small reptiles and insects, but also small rodents and birds.




African savannas.


  1. ^ Ferguson-Lees, James; Christie, D.A. (2006). Raptors of the World (Princeton Field Guides). Princeton Field Guides. ISBN 0713669578. 
  2. ^ Kemp, A.C., Boesman, P. & Marks, J.S. (2016). African Pygmy-falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 12 March 2016).
  3. ^ Fuchs, J., J.A. Johnson, and D.P. Mindell (2015), Rapid diversification of falcons (Aves: Falconidae) due to expansion of open habitats in the Late Miocene, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 82, 166-182.

External links

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.