BIRDS OF ICELAND Falco columbarius, Merlin

Falco columbarius; the Merlin is the most common bird of prey on Iceland. It can be found in most regions, except for the deserts of the highlands. It can be observed often in the lowlands during the spring/summer period. However, one needs to watch carefully as it is a rather small bird and as such easily overlooked as a bird of prey. The tail-beak length is about 25 to 30cm., which is only marginally larger than the common redwing. It is indeed the smallest falcon of Europe. Closer observation immediately show this is a falcon. The male has a blue-greyish back and upper parts of the wing where this is brownish on the female. The male has also a slightly orange striated bottom parts where the female has a lighter matrix. It hunts passerines and during the winter migration to the British Isles and Western Europe often follows their prey.

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A brief introduction to Iceland birds
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk
- unless stated otherwise

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This picture is from Scotland by Robert Snell. He is dedicated to the birds of Mull see here.
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