Merlin's are favoured as street hawks and flown after sparrows. The odd thing is that they told me that Kestrels a species very much like our European Kestrel is favoured above the Merlin. Which is reverse to our way of thinking in the west and I was keen to see one of these Kestrels in action.
So far I have not managed to witness this and it remains a quest for a future trip to China.
Since writing the above I have enjoyed sparrow hawking with a jack (male) Merlin thrown from the hand whilst riding a bicycle through the streets. The favourable comment about the Kestrel is not so, and like in the west the Merlin is the better falconry bird.