Pygmy Falcon

Scientific Name:
Cinnyris bifasciatus
Sub-Saharan Africa
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About the Pygmy Falcon

The Pygmy Falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus) is the smallest raptor in Africa and is found in the savannas and scrublands of eastern and southern Africa.


Pygmy Falcons inhabit arid and semi-arid regions, including open savannas, dry grasslands, scrublands, and acacia woodlands. They are commonly found in areas with scattered trees or bushes, where they can perch and hunt for prey. These falcons prefer habitats with nearby water sources and suitable nesting sites, such as abandoned nests of sociable weavers or other cavity-nesting birds.


Pygmy Falcons are small birds, measuring approximately 19 to 20 centimeters (7.5 to 8 inches) in length, with a wingspan of about 35 to 40 centimeters (14 to 16 inches). They have a compact body, a short tail, and pointed wings. Their plumage is predominantly gray or grayish-brown on the upperparts, with white or buff underparts and distinctive black facial markings, including a black patch around the eyes and a black "sideburn" stripe. Best Viewing The best places to view Pygmy Falcons are in their native habitats within eastern and southern Africa. Look for them perched on branches or poles overlooking open areas, where they scan for prey and perform aerial displays. These falcons are often seen in pairs or family groups, especially during the breeding season when they gather to nest and raise their young.