Dwarf Hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys falco Randall 1963

Other Names: Coral Hawkfish, Falcon Hawkfish

A Dwarf Hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys falco, at Flynn Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Andrew J. Green / Reef Life Survey. License: CC By Attribution

A small whitish hawkfish with reddish-brown tapering saddles that break up into orange to reddish-brown blotches on the rear of the body, a pair of reddish bars radiating from each eye, and reddish-brown spots on the soft dorsal and caudal fins.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Cirrhitichthys falco in Fishes of Australia, accessed 04 Dec 2022, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/2426

Dwarf Hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys falco Randall 1963

More Info


Recorded in Australia from Cartier Reef, Timor Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, QLD to Sydney, NSW; also Ashmore Reef and Osprey Reef, Coral Sea, and Elizabeth Reef, near Lord Howe Island, Tasman Sea. The species occurs elsewhere in the tropical, west Pacific. Inhabits seaward reefs, and is often seen perching on or within coral heads.


Studies indicate that the Dwarf Hawkfish is a protogynous hermaphrodite, living in  haremic groups, with a solitary male dominating a small group of up to seven females. Spawning occurs in the water column at night. 

Species Citation

Cirrhitichthys falco Randall 1963, Proc. U. S. Natl Mus. 114(3472): 435. Type locality: Davao Gulf, Mindanao, Philippine Islands. 


Dianne J. Bray


Find more information on the Dwarf Hawkfish at:

Dwarf Hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys falco Randall 1963


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Choat, J.H., van Herwerden, L., Robbins, W.D., Hobbs, J.P. & Ayling, A.M. 2006. A report on the ecological surveys undertaken at Middleton and Elizabeth Reefs, February 2006. Report by James Cook University to the Department of the Environment and Heritage. 65 pp.

Coker DJ, Hoey AS, Wilson SK, Depczynski M, Graham NAJ, Hobbs J-PA, Holmes TA, Pratchett MS. (2015). Habitat selectivity and reliance on live corals for Indo-Pacific hawkfishes (family Cirrhitidae). PLoS One 10: 1–17.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0138136 PDF Open access

Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp.

Donaldson, T.J. 1986. Courtship and spawning behavior of the hawkfish Cirrhitichthys falco at Miyake-jima, Japan. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 33: 329-333.

Donaldson, T.J. 1987. Social organization and reproductive behavior of the hawkfish Cirrhitichthys falco (Cirrhitidae). Bulletin of Marine Science 41: 531-540. PDF (open access)

Gill, A.C. & Reader, S.E. 1992. Fishes. pp. 90-93, 193-228 in Hutchings, P. (ed.). Reef Biology. A Survey of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, South Pacific. Canberra : Australian National Parks Vol. 3, Kowari 230 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

Kadota T, Osato J, Hashimoto H, Sakai Y (2011) Harem structure and female territoriality in the dwarf hawkfish Cirrhitichthys falco (Cirrhitidae). Environ Biol Fishes 92: 79–88.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. & Tonozuka, T. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 2. Fusiliers - Dragonets, Caesionidae - Callionymidae. Australia : Zoonetics pp. 304-622.

Randall, J.E. 1963. Review of the hawkfishes (family Cirrhitidae). Proceedings of the United States National Museum 114(3472): 389-451.

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2

Russell, B.C., Larson, H.K., Hutchins, J.B. & Allen, G.R. 2005. Reef fishes of the Sahul Shelf. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory Supplement 1 2005: 83-105.

Sadovy, Y. & Donaldson, T.J. 1995. Sexual pattern of Neocirrhites armatus (Cirrhitidae) with notes on other hawkfish species. Environmental Biology of Fishes 42(2): 143-150. Abstract

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37374003

Depth:4-46 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:7 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map