a comprehensive resource of avian hand rearing techniques for captive bird populations


Falco columbarius

Falconiformes - Falconidae - Falcons & caracaras

Distribution: North America, except Pacific coast and Great Plains

Habitat: Varied - from sea level up to tree linein some mountain ranges, forest & tundra to parkland, shrub-steppe, moorland, open prairies

Diet: Small birds, bats and insects, small rodents

Breeding: No nest built; use old stick nests of other species; also tree cavities, cliff ledges; also on ground in scrape made from thick vegetation cover.

Clutch size: 3 - 6 eggs

Incubation: 28 - 32 days

Fledge age: 28 - 32 days

Maturity: 1 year


Protocol from The International Centre for Birds of Prey

View The International Centre for Birds of Prey protocol file >

Protocol established ?
Used on 9 individuals
Success rate 100.00%


Protocol used for at least 5 individuals with over 75% success*
Used by 2 or more institutions 
Points on minimizing imprinting 
Birds went on to produce fertile eggs 
Birds went on to successfully parent rear 

Warning points

Please keep us up-to-date and contact us with your own updates or new protocols for rearing the Merlin.


Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 2. New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. 1994

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