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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 and is becoming a more common sight during the Spring and Fall. 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 and its' breast with brown streaking. The female is light brown and a brown back with light streaking. The juvenile is similar to the female with browner plumage and more visible streaking on the breast.
Voice: Calls are similar to other birds of prey, sharp repeated cries which are often heard when flying.
Nesting: Four to five pale eggs and brown spotted. Will use cavities in trees, or even abandoned nests left by other large birds to raise its young.
Distribution: Spends the summer months throughout the taiga regions of Canada and the USA. Spends the winter months throughout central and western USA and into Mexico, traveling as far South America. Seen from Newfoundland and Labrador to western Alaska and southern California, throughout the central USA, along the Gulf of Mexico to the tip of Florida and up along the Atlantic coast.