Basic Information:

Scientific Name: Falco columbarius

Habitat: Merlin hawks can be found in open forests, grasslands, and coastal areas of the northern hemisphere. 

Diet: Merlin hawks are a predatory species and mostly prey on small birds and mice, but have been observed catching dragonflies and other insects.

Size: 0.8 to 1.1 feet high / 1.5 to 2.2 foot wingspan

Weight: 0.4 to 0.5 pounds

Lifespan: 6 to 8 years in the wild. Up to 10 years in human care.

Distribution Map:

I.U.C.N. Conservation Status:

What does this mean?

Least Concern – a species determined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (I.U.C.N.) to be pervasive, abundant, and thriving.

Our Merlin:

Tyrion (Male) – Estimated Birthdate Between March 2013 & July 2013

Did You Know?!

  • Merlins surprise attack small birds mid-air by sneaking in horizontally and catching prey in a high speed chase.
  • Typically, Merlins fly at about 30 mph, but high speed chases can exceed 50 mph.
  • Merlins were nicknamed “lady hawks” by Medieval falconers. Catherine the Great and Mary Queen of Scots both used Merlins to hunt skylarks, a small bird species native to Europe and Asia.
  • Merlins and American kestrels can be easily confused in the wild. Merlins lack a facial “mustache” stripe that is characteristic of Kestrels.
  • Merlins have hooked beaks, razor sharp talons, and excellent vision and hearing, all of which help them to capture prey animals.