How to Recognize Morela On Camera


Morela at the Cathedral of Learning nest, 17 Oct 2019 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Now that the female peregrine, Morela, visits the Cathedral of Learning nest nearly every day you may be wondering how to identify her.

Here are her unique traits that you’ll see on camera, listed from easiest to hardest.

1. Morela has no bands on her legs. She often stands with her bare ankles showing.

2. All the normally white places on a peregrine — chest, face and cheeks — are peach-apricot on Morela. Even her belly beneath the stripes is peach-apricot, not white. This is noticeable in all photos.

Morela showing her right side, 17 Oct 2019 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

3. Morela’s breast is clear with no spots or flecks of gray except at the edges (tiny flecks highlighted in photo below).

Morela’s breast is clear except for tiny flecks of gray at the edges, highlighted (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

4. Peregrines have a broken necklace of charcoal gray that forms a frame on their cheeks below the malar stripe. Morela’s necklace is very wide when she turns her head, especially the necklace on her left side (necklace highlighted in photo below).

Morela has a wide necklace when she turns her head, especially on this side (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Morela shares some traits with other peregrines:

  • Morela is much larger than Terzo. This is a female trait in peregrines.
  • Morela’s forehead is pale where it meets her beak. Terzo has this trait, too, but Hope did not.
  • Morela’s head and nape are quite dark. So are Terzo’s.
  • There is very little color contrast between Morela’s head and back. This is typically a female trait in peregrines. Terzo has much more contrast — dark head, light gray back.

For comparison on camera here are two photos of Terzo in 2016 and 2017. Notice how white he is!

Male peregrine Terzo (N29) at the Cathedral of Learning nest,29 Mar 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Terzo (N29) at the Cathedral of Learning nest, 29 Mar 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Terzo shows his left foot doesn't feel good, 30 April 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Terzo is very white and so is his forehead, 30 April 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Watch for Morela on camera. See if you can identify her.

(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)