We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Merlin Falcon?

By S. Ashraf
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The merlin falcon, or Falco columbarius, is a small bird of prey found throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Merlins range from 9.5 to 13 inches (24 to 33 cm) in length, have a wingspan of about 20 to 26 inches (50 to 67 cm) and weigh approximately 5.3 to 9 ounces (150 to 255 grams). In appearance, the merlin falcon has a long, banded tail and lengthy, pointed wings. Coloration differs between the sexes with the wings and back of the male being blue-gray and the female being brown. Its talons are black, and its legs and feet are yellow.

Merlin falcons are primarily birds of the northern prairies and forests. Geographically, the species is found in the northern hemisphere and is distributed worldwide in regions above 47 degrees north latitude. Merlins are migratory, however, and most will move south when the weather turns cool. North American populations move to the southern United States and northern South America. The northern European species move southward to North Africa and southern Europe.

For habitat during the non-breeding season, the merlin falcon prefers country that is fairly open such as scrub or shrub lands, prairies, lake shores and moorland. Generally speaking, this type of falcon likes a mixture of low- to medium-height vegetation with at least some trees. It is known to avoid treeless, arid regions as well as dense forests.

During breeding season, however, the merlin falcon’s habitat expands to include coniferous forests as it searches for nest sites that offer dense vegetation or rocky cover. The merlin falcon frequently does not build its own nest. Instead, it often will use the abandoned nests of other birds.

After the migration to breeding grounds is completed, usually no later than the end of spring, the male puts on a variety of aerial displays designed to attract a female to his territory. He will bring her food and show her the proposed nest. Generally, merlin falcons are monogamous during the breeding and nesting season. A clutch of two to five eggs is laid, and it will hatch in approximately 28 to 32 days. The male merlin keeps the female fed, but both parents defend the nest and feed the nestlings.

The merlin falcon is carnivorous and preys mostly on small to medium-size birds. Insects and small mammals, such as bats and mice, provide variety in its diet. Merlins are regarded as very able aerial foragers, and they capture most of their prey in the air. Seemingly unafraid, Merlins have been known to try to catch even large prey, such as automobiles.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.