A hovering merlin (c) Linda Lyon


Merlins are highly aggressive towards other raptors and crows during the nesting period. This is beneficial to the song and ground birds of nearby woodlands, since their territory is kept fairly free of predators during the entire mating season. The survival rate amongst young merlins is exceptionally high, with three birds per nest often reaching breeding age. Found throughout the northern hemisphere, they favour areas of open country such as grassland, dunes and coastal areas. The merlin is the smallest falcon in the UK.

Scientific name: Falco columbarius

Rank: Species

Common names:

Pigeon hawk

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Map showing the distribution of the Merlin taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Merlin can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, China, Europe, Indian subcontinent, Mediterranean, North America, Russia, South America, United Kingdom, Wales, Ynys-hir nature reserve. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Merlin distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1