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Books about the Merlin

The books are listed in order of publication date with the most recent at the top.

Falco columbarius
Family: Falconidae

General books about raptors, many of which include sections on the Merlin, can be found on;

The Raptor Page

A page that brings together all books about Falcons, many of which include sections on the Merlin, can be found on;

The Falcon Page



Richard Sale

New Naturalist 132



"In a much-anticipated volume on one of Britain’s most fascinating group of birds, Richard Sale draws on a wealth of experience and research, providing a comprehensive natural history of the four British breeding falcons. The book takes each of the four breeding species in turn (Kestrel, Merlin, Hobby and Peregrine Falcon), exploring its form, habitat, breeding biology and status, along with a chapter on the hunting techniques of each species."

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The Merlin

Richard Sale

Snowfinch Publishing


"The Merlin is a fascinating small falcon, standing outside the usual grouping of the ‘True Falcons’, and with a range that is confined to northern climes, an exclusive preference that is shared by only one other, the much larger Gyrfalcon.

This is the first comprehensive book on the species, covering its complete circumpolar range. The book starts with a general comments on the evolution of the True Falcons and thoughts on their grouping, then covers the general characteristics of the Merlin, the species’ habitat, its diet, breeding (territory, displays, pair formation, nest sites, eggs, chick growth, nest predation and breeding success), migration and wintering, survival, the Merlin’s friend and foes, and estimations of the world population. It also includes data gathered with a unit flown on a male Merlin."

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Hunting Tactics of Peregrines and Other Falcons

Dick Dekker

Hancock House Publishers


"This dissertation describes the foraging habits and capture rates of four species of bird-hunting falcons; Peregrine (Falco peregrinus), Merlin (Falco colum-barius), Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus), and Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus). Eight of the nine study areas were situated in western Canada in widely different habitats, and the observation periods intermittently included all seasons over 44 years, 1965-2008. The various chapters report and compare the location-specific hunting methods and choice of prey of these falcons. In addition, the book reports on the population dynamics and nest site competition between Peregrines and Prairie Falcons on a sympatric breeding range in Alberta over a span of 48 years."

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Merlins of the South-East Yorkshire Dales

Peter M. Wright

Tarnmoor Publications


"A detailed study, based on 30 years of observations, of the Merlin in the south-east Yorkshire dales. The text includes sections on habitat, hunting and feeding, breeding, dispersal, mortality, predation and future threats."

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Biology and Conservation of Small Falcons

Proceedings of the 1991 Hawk and Owl Trust Conference

Editor: M.K. Nicholls and R. Clarke

Hawk & Owl Trust



Breeding Ecology 1

  • Long Term Monitoring Of A Kestrel Population In Ayrshire
  • Nestboxes As A Monitoring Tool For Kestrel Breeding Performance
  • Insects, Small Mammals And Breeding Performance Of Farmland Populations Of The Common Kestrel In Sicily
  • Ecological Aspects Of The Lesser Kestrel In Extremadura, Spain
  • Lesser Kestrel Recovery Project In Catalonia
Breeding Ecology 2
  • Trends In Breeding Success Of Merlins In Britain From 1937-1989
  • The Importance Of The Breeding Population Of The Merlin In North-East Scotland
  • Ecology Of Urban Merlins In Saskatoon
  • DNA Fingerprinting Of Young Falcons In The Nest
  • Breeding Ecology Of The Sooty Falcon In Israel
  • Contribution To The Breeding Biology Of Eleonora's Falcon
  • Breeding Cycle Of The Seychelles Kestrel
  • A Comparison Of The Nesting Habits Of The Red-Footed Falcon In Colonies And Solitary Pairs
Health And Disease
  • Legal Aspects Of Work With Small Falcons
  • Plasma Growth Hormone (GH) Levels In Nestling American Kestrels
  • Establishment Of The Medical Database For Raptors
  • Diseases And Pathology Of The European Merlin
  • Blood Parasitism, Immunity And Reproduction In American Kestrels
  • Trichinella Pseudospiralis In American Kestrels : A Model Of Parasite-Induced Behavioral Pathology
  • Small Falcons In Health And Disease
Hunting And Foraging
  • The Hunting Behaviour And Predatory Efficiency Of The Mauritius Kestrel
  • Home Range Of Lesser Kestrels During The Breeding Season
  • Foraging Of The South African Rock Kestrel
  • Diet And Hunting Behaviour Of The European Hobby In Africa
  • Digestive Adaptations In Relation To Foraging Ecology And Feeding Behaviour Of Raptors
  • Merlin Winter Roosts And Diet In Britain And Northern France
Management Of Captive And Domestic Populations
  • Breeding African Pygmy Falcons
  • Domestic Breeding Of Merlins
  • The Problems In Establishing A Domestic, Self-Sustaining International Population Of New Zealand Falcons
  • Captive Breeding And Release Of Hobbies In The UK
  • Controlled Hacking, A Method Of Research Into The Biology Of Non-Indigenous Raptors : Example Falco Chicquera Chicquera
  • Domestic Merlins In The UK
Evolution And Taxonomy
  • The Genus Falco On The Upper Quaternary Of The Iberian Peninsula
  • A Morphometric Analysis Of Falco Species
  • Detection Of A Genetic Basis Of Morphometric Variation In Captive American Kestrels
  • Lesser Kestrel Conservation
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Forest Merlins in Scotland

Jack Orchel

Illustrations: Donald Watson and John Haywood

Hawk and Owl Trust


"A Report on the Galloway Forests Merlin Project, 1986-89. This study provides information on the basic ecology of the merlin, an historical perspective on merlins in Galloway, plus details and results of the Project."

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The Merlin

W.M. Trobe

Oriel Stringer


A 90 page study of the Merlin.

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Ecological Assessment Of Impact Of Road Construction On Merlin Falco Columbarius And Hen Harrier Circus Cyaneus In Perthshire

Bell, D.

Research report 82

British Trust for Ornithology


20 page report.

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Merlins of the Welsh Marches

D.A. Orton

David & Charles


"This book describes four years, 1971 to 1974, during which the author spent many hours watching Merlins on the Welsh borders. The books is based on detailed diaries."

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Last updated October 2013