Although it lives mostly on a diet made up of birds (80%), the merlin also feeds on small mammals, lizards, snakes and insects.


Most individuals live a short life: an average of 3 years for females and 2 years for males.

Canadian status

Not at risk


The female lays its eggs in April or May, with a clutch size of 4 to 6 eggs. The incubation period lasts between 25 and 32 days, with the male replacing the female as needed. The young will fledge 25 to 30 days after hatching.


Birds of prey and the American crow prey on adult merlin, eggs and hatchlings.

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