MER­LIN

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your Birding Month October -

Our small­est fal­con is a speedy jet fighter of a bird, whizzing along on rel­a­tively short wings (for a fal­con) in break­neck pur­suit of small birds, such as larks and pip­its. Mer­lins are birds of open coun­try, in win­ter favour­ing coastal marshes, fen­land and other suit­able ar­eas with plen­ti­ful prey. Most birds are young­sters or fe­males, look­ing cold dark brown with a prom­i­nent pale su­per­cil­ium (‘eye­brow’) and a banded tail (so some­what like the fal­con equiv­a­lent of a Spar­rowhawk). Adult males are even bet­ter look­ing in steely blue with an or­ange flush to the un­der­parts.

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