MERLIN (Falco columbarius)
The Merlin (also previously called ‘pigeon hawk) is a small falcon, around 30 cm (12 in.) long. The Latin species name ‘Falco’ means ‘sickle’, in reference to the curved shape of this bird’s bill and talons. The Latin word ‘columbarius’ is a reference to the old English name. Adult males have a grey back and head, and white under parts with brown streaks. Females and juveniles are brown with light under parts with brown streaks.
The merlin breeds on PEI and is fairly common. It migrates to Central America and the Caribbean mainly. This species is not habitat-specific. The merlin hunts by ambushing its prey, and can fly low and fast. It is an efficient predator of small birds. It is used in falconry for its good hunting skills.