Identifying Ecco and Morela

  • Ecco, male (21 Feb 2021, 9:13)

22 February 2021

The unbanded male peregrine, Ecco, has been present every day at the Cathedral of Learning since 4 February — 19 days in a row — while the former resident male, Terzo, has not been seen since 5 February. With this kind of track record I believe that Ecco has won the site and is now the resident male.

Now that Ecco is present every day and neither he nor his mate Morela are banded how do we tell them apart? Here are some tips, photos and videos to help you compare and identify each bird.

Size: Male peregrines are 1/3 smaller than females. The slideshows display Ecco and Morela in similar poses. Morela is always the bigger bird. Check the captions if you are unsure.

  • Ecco

The easiest way to determine size is to compare the bird to the size of the enclosure or camera view. How long is the bird compared to the available space? Morela is longer. Does the bird look bulky? Morela is bulkier.

Coloration: Morela’s breast and face are peach-colored where Ecco is white.

The videos below will give you practice identifying them on camera.

Ecco alone at the nest, 21 Feb 2021

Morela alone at the nest, 21 Feb 2021

The more we watch them the better we’ll get at identifying each one. My hope is that Ecco and Morela stay at the Cathedral of Learning for many years to come.

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

3 thoughts on “Identifying Ecco and Morela

  1. Kate, I think you meant “males are 1/3 smaller than females,” not that they’re 1/3 the size? Worded another way, males are 2/3 the size of females?

  2. Size matters! Why can the boxes be marked at say 6 inch intervals… like graph paper?
    What are the pf doing when they appear to be eating gravel? Cleaning the nest? Looks like nervous, busy work

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