Merlin - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Merlin - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Merlin - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Merlin - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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Merlin
Falco columbarius

Hawks, Eagles and Falcons
Falcon Family (Falconidae)

Size: Length: 25-30 cm Wingspan: 58-66 cm

Description: Larger and far less common than the American kestrel, the merlin prefers to hunt songbirds as opposed to more terrestrial prey. They are the most subtly marked of our falcons, with the male exhibiting a brighter plumage. The males have blue-gray back and crowns. The primary feathers are dark, and the tail is blue, banded with dark gray or black. Their is a light stripe running from the beak, above the eye to the back of the head. The sides of the neck, cheeks and breast are white mottled with reddish-brown. The throat is white. Females have dark brown backs, wings and head. Other than the lack of blue-gray feathers, they are similar to the males. Nests are often abandoned magpie or crow nests. They will occasionally nest in cavities in trees, cliff edges, or rarely on the ground. The eggs are incubated for 29-31 days. They feed primarily on songbirds, diving and capturing them in mid-flight. They may be seen hunting in diverse landscapes, often far from trees. In addition to their aerial prey, they will also hunt insects.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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