Merlins are small, compact falcons. Three subspecies are found in Washington. The Black Merlin is solid black on the head and back, and dark with a minimal amount of light streaking on the breast. It has a white throat patch. The Taiga Merlin is lighter in color than the Black Merlin, with a bluish-black back, a white eyebrow line, and white bars across the tail. The Prairie Merlin is lighter in color than the other two.