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.
Tyrion (Male) – Born May 1, 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.