This forum is for asking questions and providing answers on bird identification. New and visiting birders are encouraged to ask and participate.
By birdergirl
Hi do you have a field guide? I highly recommend one to help you out as you learn to ID birds since you are getting into the hobby. I recommed this book ... th+america

To answer your question, this is a male Merlin of the Taiga race and yes the females do not have the blue cap and back but appear brown and streaky as viewed in the link below.

More info on them here:

They are stunning little falcons. Nice shot of him.

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Alright, thank you very much for your expertise!