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Merlin Tail Bands

posted by Jerry Liguori at
on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 

Just a short note that I posted a while back on the UtahBirders blog. Yes, it is true that Black Merlins typically have less distinct whitish tail bands than the other races (Taiga and Prairie). However, many Black Merlins can have quite distinct tail bands, and Taiga (and a few Prairie) Merlins can have limited or no tail bands at all. I always say "almost no field mark is 100% reliable."

Check out the Taiga Merlins above ("click" to enlarge), the bird on the left (adult female) has a distinctly whitish-banded tail, the bird in the middle (juvenile) has limited tail bands, and the bird on the right (juvenile) lacks tail bands altogether. Note that many Merlins of all races do have a darker "tip."

7 Comments:
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incredible how that one on the right has no tail bands, I wouldn't have thought that was possible. Thanks Jerry for these examples.

November 19, 2013 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger Bryce said...

Great Post! Just what I needed to read about today.

November 19, 2013 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger Jerry Liguori said...

Thanks Bryce

November 19, 2013 at 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Derek Lyon said...

The barring of tails are often the only thing separating a Merlin from a small Peregrine. Is it true Jerry, that Europe's Merlins have a white tail tip?

November 20, 2013 at 7:19 AM  
Blogger Jerry Liguori said...

They do, but ours have a white tail tip too, unless its worn.

November 20, 2013 at 7:31 AM  
Anonymous Ron Dudley said...

Useful tips, as always, Jerry. Thanks.

November 20, 2013 at 4:11 PM  
Blogger Jerry Liguori said...

Thank you Ron.

November 20, 2013 at 4:27 PM  

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