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Merlin

Faucon émerillon

Birds of North America

Falco columbarius


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Birds of North America
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B L W W W Family Latin Name
10" 25.40cm 24" 61cm 6.5oz. 184.25g Falconidae Falco columbarius

Species: The Merlin (Falco columbarius), once known as the "Pigeon Hawk" , feeds mostly on small birds, larger insects and some mammals. It is a member of the falcon family, identified as such, because of its double toothed beak. Breeds in the northern regions of North America, becoming a more common sight during the spring and fall. Where it is known to follow and prey on smaller birds in the migration periods.

Distinctions: Sexually dimorphic, the male has a bluish grey-back, most times, a dark crown, with a slight mustache. Pointed wings, displaying a checkered pattern, breast with brown streaking . Female is light brown, brown back with light streaking. The juvenile is similar to female, browner plumage and more visible streaking on breast.

Voice: Calls are similar to other birds of prey, sharp, repeated cries, often heard while it is flying.

Nesting: Four to five pale eggs, with brown spotted. Will use cavities in trees, or even abandoned nest left by other large birds to raise its young.

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Distribution: Spends its summer months throughout the taiga regions of Canada and the USA. Spends its winter months throughout Central and Western USA and into Mexico, traveling as far South America. Seen from Newfoundland and Labrador to Western Alaska, to Southern California, throughout the Central USA , along the Gulf of Mexico, to the tip of Florida, and up along the Atlantic coast.

Classic Collection of North American Birds

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