Scientific name: Falco columbarius
Nature Stars: 70
About: The Merlin is a small falcon, not much bigger than a Blackbird. They feed on small birds, especially Meadow Pipits which it chases in level flight. They nest on the ground, amongst the heather.
How to identify: Males are bluey-grey above, with a grey head and orangey cream underparts streaked in black. The females are mainly grey-brown, with dark streaking underneath.
Where: Nests on moorlands in north and south west England, Wales and Scotland, winters on coastal marshes and farmland in the lowlands.
Fantastic fact: The Merlin is the smallest European falcon.
Photograph credit: Wildstock