The Saker Falcon is a very big falcon, one of the biggest with a wingspan of 105-129 cm and a length of 47-55cm. It is almost as large as the Gyrfalcon, and is a bird of prey which breeds from eastern Europe eastwards across Asia to Manchuria. There are several sub-species of Saker falcons; the steain Saker and the Altai Saker.
The Saker falcons have a wide range of colors, ranging from dark brown to grey to almost white. Saker falcons are known to lay 2-5 eggs, and in the winter they migrate south to Kazakhstan and the Middle East. Coming from the
United Arab Emirates i have seen many saker falcons as they are popularly used for falconry. The Altai Saker falcons are the favorite of Arab falconers as they are larger and are dark brown and gray. These birds of prey are pretty brave hunters sometimes attacking prey larger than themselves. Also it is known that the Saker falcons have no natural enemies other than human beings. Falconers prefer female falcons as they are more ferocious than the male ones.
( Warning some gruesome images) In this video Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi is shown with a group of friends going out to practice falconry in the desert of Abu Dhabi and you get a little taste of Arabian music.
The Saker falcons are now facing extinction, however, there are no accurate figures for the population of Saker Falcons, but it is believed that there are only 1000 pairs of birds left in Russia and 130 pairs in the rest of Europe. Due to their extremely large wingspan the Saker falcons are able to fly at very high speeds up to 200mph, this is one of the main reasons why the Sakers are popular in falconry. The have large eyes and a hooked beak which help them to find and eliminate their prey.
In the next video a man is shown training his magnificent Saker falcon, Herbert.