Merlin Birds: Age, Breed, Baby, Food, Habitat & Mating

Merlin Birds: Age, Breed, Baby, Food, Habitat & Mating

Merlin Birds Description:

Merlin birds are small-sized birds that are similar to the blackbird’s size. It is also a smaller species of falcon. It is a bird of prey and likes to hunt small birds. It has low flight near the ground due to its size. This bird, with many subspecies, is native to North America and Eurasia. Different names in different continents know it. In North America, this prey bird is known as a pigeon hawk. Some species are migratory, while some are sedentary. They can fly with quick speed. They are also very active and skilled hunters of small birds, which carefully hunt their prey like sparrows, quail, and other small birds.

Merlin Birds: Age, Breed, Baby, Food, Habitat & Mating

What does a Merlin Birds look like?

The Merlin is a beautiful and small species of falcon. The females are slightly larger than males. It differs among living falcons in size, shape, and color of feathers. They are only closely related to red-necked falcon in appearance. The male is slightly different from the female in coloration.

What does a male merlin look like?

The adult male has a blue-black colour back and a silvery grey head. Its head is small and cubic in appearance. The underparts of the body also have slivery grey marked by a wide black colour at the end.

Merlin Birds: Age, Breed, Baby, Food, Habitat & Mating

It has a shiny neck similar to its cheeks. The tail of this bird also has a stony grey colour with a white rounded end. It has dark brown eyes which have white stripes above them. The male’s beak is grey, while the round end is dark. The legs have a pale yellow appearance, while the nails are dark.

What does a female merlin look like?

The female Merlin is slightly larger than the male. The upper parts of the body are brownish-grey to dark brown. The underparts are shiny & white with brown bands. The tail is marked with 3-4 blackish bands which are very wide in females, while in males these bands are narrow.

Merlin Birds: Age, Breed, Baby, Food, Habitat & Mating Merlin Birds: Age, Breed, Baby, Food, Habitat & Mating

The eyes are dark in colour with a white striped area above them. The beak of a female is dark, with a hook at the end. The core of this bird is also yellow, like in males. The legs have yellow feathers with black paws. The young Merlin also has a similar look to the female. They have similar feathers.

Where do Merlin Birds live?

What is the geographical range of Merlin Birds?

Merlins are mainly native to the Northern Hemisphere, with many of their subspecies. Some species are sedentary, while most are migratory, as they can migrate to different regions in different conditions. Generally, in winter, the birds that live in Northern Europe will move towards the warmer regions of Southern Europe and other North Africa. The populations will roost in North America and migrate to Northern South America. They are also found in Canada, Azerbaijan, Belgium, and Barbados. These birds are also native to Algeria, Albania, Bulgaria, and other Antigua countries.

What kind of habitats do Merlins like?

Merlin Birds love to live in habitats at low and medium heights. They mainly hunt their prey near the ground at low levels. They prefer to live in vegetation with dispersed trees. They also inhabit shrubland, parks, grassland, and taiga forests. They prefer to avoid settling in compact forest trees. They also avoid living in dry regions where no trees can grow.

These birds can settle themselves in any habitat during migration. They are also found from sea level to the tree line but do not regularly stay here.

Credit goes to Lucretius

Where do Merlins live in the winter?

During the winter, they migrate toward the warmer regions to protect themselves. They prefer to live in lowland areas such as plains, valleys, and beaches where no mountains are present in winter. They also move down to seashore areas such as oceans. Most of the populations of this bird migrate to southern Europe and North Africa continents during the winter.

Where do Merlins live in the summer?

During the summer, they do not migrate to other regions. They prefer to live in open country, such as willow or birch scrub, with no compact trees or forests. They also like to live in upland areas such as woodlands, shrublands, mountainous and rock outcrops. A wide species of Merlin is also found in hilly areas during the summer season.

Where do Merlin Birds live at night?

Merlins find a safe and sheltered place to protect themselves from predators. Therefore, they prefer to live in grasslands, marshlands, and unforested flat areas. They also mainly roost in trees, rugged cliffs, and deep vegetation. Sometimes, they live in forested areas, but it is rare to see them. They mainly live in low-level trees near the ground or in greenery.

What do Merlin Birds eat?

Merlin is a predatory bird, which means they mainly eat meat from different small animals. They do not eat any plant matter as food. They prefer to hunt many small birds of different types like kingfisher or humming bird. They love to feed sparrows, larks, large game birds, insects, finches, ptarmigans, and many others. They also eat some large birds such as dragonflies and moths and others. They also intake large mammals such as rats, cats, bats, and volves to complete their diets. Some reptiles, such as lizards, skinks, snakes, and alligators, are included in their diet.

What do Merlins eat in the winter?

Merlin Birds mainly depend on different birds for their diet. In winter, they prefer to eat different shorebirds, such as plovers, gulls, auks, woodcock, and sandpipers. Some species of this bird also take large birds like small ducks and pigeons as food. Some species also feed sparrows as their main diet and live in urban areas. Typically, they prefer to feed small or medium-sized birds.

What do Merlins eat in the summer?

Merlin Birds do not migrate to other regions during the summer. However, only a few species move to other areas during winter. In summer, they mainly intake small mammals such as bats, wolves and rats as food. They also feed insects and other small birds from those areas where they are found. Sometimes, they also take game birds, which is rare.

How do Merlins hunt their prey?

Merlin Birds: Age, Breed, Baby, Food, Habitat & Mating

Merlin birds employ their quick speed and ability to catch their prey. They are known as aerial hunters; they often hunt their prey while flying in the air. They usually catch their prey near the ground. They mainly use the trees and large shrubs to amaze their prey. Once they look at their prey, it takes no time to catch prey with surprising attack.

Merlin Birds: Age, Breed, Baby, Food, Habitat & Mating

They also use other hunting methods to hunt their prey, like vertical stooping and regular chasing. During breeding, both partners come out to hunt their prey cooperatively. During hunting, one bird attracts the prey bird toward its partner. Usually, it is very active and brave in hunting. It is always ready to attack anything that is looking very clearly. Hearing that a bird misses its target under favourable conditions is rare.

How do Merlins breed?

The breeding season of Merlins begins in May and lasts until the end of June. They make pairs during breeding that remain only for one season. They are monogamous, meaning only one male mate with a single female. Sometimes, extra-pair copulations also occur during the season.

How do Merlins mate?

Merlins become sexually mature at the age of one year. The males start mating first, then the females. The males reach the ground or perform the mating while flying in the air. It also shows colourful feathers to impress his partner. Each year, he finds a new partner for mating. They required a place for laying eggs as the mating process was complete.

Merlin Birds: Age, Breed, Baby, Food, Habitat & Mating

Where do they build nests?

Merlins mainly preferred to roost in the nests of crows or hawks. Therefore, they show aggression towards crows, hawks, and other raptors during the nesting season. This behavior benefits many other birds, such as ground or woodland birds.

Merlin Birds: Age, Breed, Baby, Food, Habitat & Mating

These birds also build new nests for laying eggs. They prefer to build their nests in grasslands and regions of dunes. Sometimes, they also use the wooden areas for nesting. They make a hole in the compact greenery of grassland. Some birds may even use the buildings for nesting. Primarily, the female is included in building the nests.

How many eggs do merlins lay?

After one month of mating, the female lays three to six eggs at her nest. But, mostly, four to five eggs in their nests. They will lay these eggs at the break of two days. The eggs have round and oval-shaped structures. The size of these eggs is about 1.5 to 1.24 inches.

Merlin Birds: Age, Breed, Baby, Food, Habitat & Mating

These oval, round-shaped eggs have a beautiful appearance. The eggs are light yellowish white with a regular marking of rich brown and purple. The female mostly stays on these eggs at the nest.

What is the incubation period of Merlin Birds?

The eggs are laid at the interval of two days. The incubation period is about 28-32 days. They start to incubate eggs after laying them. Both partners share the duties for the process of incubation. But the female will spend much of her time in the nest. In contrast, a male is responsible for the food of his partner. They spend most of their time outside the nests, foraging for food.

 

How are chicks hatching from eggs?

The hatching process takes a few hours. The eggs are hatching in intervals. First, the chick starts to break the outer shell of the egg. It makes pecks a round hole at the end of the egg. The chick pushes its neck through the hole and breaks the shell of the eggs. A healthy chick is accomplished in a few hours.

Merlin Birds: Age, Breed, Baby, Food, Habitat & Mating

What does a baby of Merlin look like?

After the hatching process, the baby looks weak and tired. The process of hatching is arduous and tires the newly hatched baby. The baby is tiny in size and weighs about 0.46 oz. They depend on their parents for food and shelter. After fourteen days of hatching, they produce the feathers that help them in flight. But they are ready to leave the nests and fly in the air at the age of 25-30 days. The young can cover a long distance after a few weeks of flight.

Merlin Birds: Age, Breed, Baby, Food, Habitat & Mating

At the age of one year, the young Merlin becomes sexually mature and starts to breed. They begin to migrate towards the southward regions for breeding. At the same time, they also become active and skilled in hunting their prey. They mainly hunt small birds as their prey.

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