Falco columbarius

(F. c. aesalon)

Armenian Name: Աղավնաբազե

See Plate 12 for Merlin and other similar species See Plate 15 for Merlin and other similar species in flight

Flight Characteristics: Relatively short pointed wings with numerous dark bars below. Faint facial marks. Male: pale blue-gray above; tail has grayish base and wide subterminal band. Female: brownish above with boldly-banded tail. Flies with rapid wingbeats low over open ground.
Resident Status: Migrant, Winter Visitor
Abundance: Rare
Length:25-30 cm, Wing Span:50-62 cm
Distribution Map: Map 56.
Description: Falcon with short pointed wings and long tail; lacks distinct facial pattern. Male is pale blue-gray above with dark primaries; light orange with black streaks below. Female is brown-gray, markedly larger, with a prominently-banded tail.
Similar Species: Female differs from Peregrine Falcon by smaller size and lack of bold mustache mark.
Behavior: Very agile. Flies swiftly and low over ground to surprise birds; persists in chasing after prey if first attempts at capture are unsuccessful.
Habitat: Open country.
Food: Small birds.