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video

Merlin

Falco columbarius (Linnaeus, 1758)

© Dhairya Dixit


all photos of serie (clickable):


author: Dhairya Dixit
location: bajana, little rann of kutch
date: 2018-01-01
equipment:


comments:
2018-07-26. Dhairya Dixit:

Please suggest subspecies for all 3 different birds, thank you


2018-08-02. Askar Isabekov:

The following is just my attempt to deep to theme.

Firstly I looked the Merlin's page in avibase site, and tried to select the subspecies of eight ones which can be observed in India in winter time. I selected four subspecies from which aesalon and insignis probably should be rarer then the rest ones, because aesalon winters in North Africa (by avibase) and in Kazakhstan (in practice), but insignis is bird of Eastern Siberia only one time recorded in Kazakhstan (means a bit of chance to view in India).

Falco columbarius aesalon: N Eurasia (Faeroes to central Siberia); winters to N Africa
Falco columbarius insignis: Siberia (Yenisey River to Kolyma River)
Falco columbarius lymani: Mountains of central Asia
Falco columbarius pallidus: Steppes of Asia (Aral Sea to Altai Mountains)

Than I looked to “Birds of prey of Indian Subcontinent” by Rishad Naoroji and found information about only two subspecies (lymani and pallidus) which were recorded in India. So my guess is confirmed. The question became to look more easy that in beginning.

Males of lymani and pallidus should be easy identified from other subspecies by thin streaks in underparts, but background of underparts of lymani male is rufous (photo), in opposite of white in pallidus (photo). So male in first photo is surely lymani.

In the definition of lymani female there is feature of barred upperparts. In definition of pallidus female there is feature of thin streaks in upperpart. The typical females of lymani (photo) and pallidus (photo) in my opinion. First one has barred upperparts and broad, almost square-shaped streaks in underparts. The second one has no bars in upperparts, but has thin long streaks in underparts.

Taking into account the feature described above the bird in the third photo is definitly female of lymani. But the bird in second photo looks like pallidus female.

In the foregoing I tried to id birds by the features from the Gavrilov's book “Birds of Kazakhstan”, but I wasn't paying attention to the difference of the juvenile birds plumage colour, because I think there is not too big difference in colour of females and juveniles, and the main subspecies feauters of females should be shown in juveniles too. Also I didn't try to find additional features which must be present in my opinion.


2018-08-02. Dhairya:

Hi, thanks a lot for detailed explanation. I will point out that in rishad book, subspecies mentioned are f. C. Insignis and f. C. Pallidus. There is nothing mentioning about f. C. Lymani. Thanks for the help mate. Can you send some photo about merlin details from that Andrey gavrilov book?



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