White-fronted Falconet Microhierax latifrons


Justification of Red List Category
Although it is probably tolerant of some degree of habitat degradation, this diminutive falcon has a moderately small population, which is likely to be undergoing a decline owing to habitat loss and degradation and probably trapping. It therefore qualifies as Near Threatened. 

Population justification
This species is thought to have a moderately small population, thus it is placed in the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals until further research is carried out. This estimate equates to 15,000-29,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 15,000-30,000 individuals.

Trend justification
Forest loss within the species's range has been estimated at c.11-16% over 3 generations (10 years) (Tracewski et al. 2016; Symes et al. 2018; Global Forest Watch 2020). However the species occurs in a range of other habitats and is assumed to be tolerant of logged forests and a degree of habitat degradation. Declines may however be compounded by trapping for the cage-bird trade. Therefore, the decline in population size over this time is suspected to be less than this, and provisionally placed in the range 10-19% over ten years.

Distribution and population

Microhierax latifrons is restricted to the island of Borneo, predominantly in Sabah Malaysia (previously considered locally not uncommon; BirdLife International 2001), with recent records from northern Kalimantan, Indonesia (Irham et al. 2012). Recently however, the species is thought to not be common anywhere (D. Edwards in litt. 2020), and is likely to have a moderately small population overall.


It occurs in open forests, forest-edge habitats and cultivation with scattered trees up to 1,200 m. Its diet includes mainly insects (e.g. dragonflies), and is thought to breed between March and April (Clark and Kirwan 2020). 


Forest destruction in the Sundaic lowlands of Indonesia and Malaysia has been extensive (Kalimantan lost nearly 25% of its evergreen forest during 1985-1997, and Sumatra lost almost 30% of its 1985 cover), because of a variety of factors, including the escalation of logging and land conversion, with deliberate targeting of all remaining stands of valuable timber including those inside protected areas, plus forest fires (particularly in 1997-1998), and declines may be compounded by trapping for the cage-bird industry. However, the species's use of secondary growth, tolerance of logged forests and higher elevations implies that it is not immediately threatened.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to assess the size of the population. Regularly monitor the population at selected sites across its range. Investigate its abundance in forest at different levels of perturbation. As a precaution, protect significant areas of suitable forest, in both strictly protected areas and multiple use areas.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C., Fernando, E.

Benstead, P., Edwards, D., Mahood, S. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Microhierax latifrons. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/03/2023.