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Falcon - the national bird of Qatar

Hook beaked and sharp visioned, Falcons are birds of prey, recognized as a species of the hawk family with strong talons. Undoubtedly a crucial part of the rich heritage and culture of Qatar, Falcons are highly honoured and celebrated as the national bird of the nation.

They are fierce diurnal birds of the avian world and hunt efficiently during daylight hours. With almost 8 times better vision than the sharpest of human eyesight, falcons silently swoop down as soon as they’ve spotted their prey. The qualities of this wild bird launched the tradition of hunting fresh meat to augment the nutrition of desert nomads, over 5000 years ago in Iran and was spread across the Middle Eastern countries over centuries. The Bedouins introduced the art of this tradition to the State of Qatar.

Falcon - the national bird of Qatar

Falconry is a historic art from the times of the Bedouin tribes where the raptor is highly trained and used to hunt down migratory birds for food. The bond created between the bird and its trainer always results in a great hunting partnership. This solitary bird educates patience, endurance, self-reliance, and valour among other things to its falconers.

Animal Facts

  • Speed

    Up to 322 KM/H

  • Class

    Aves

  • Diet

    Carnivore

Falcons are popular raptors in this part of the world and are associated with wealth and nobility, for owning a healthy falcon is an affluent and time-consuming proposition. These formidable hunters generally have a lifespan of 12-15 years and migrate into the country during the spring. 

Six variant species of Falcons that have distinctive characteristics:

1.

Amur Falcon

The amur falcon is famed for its fascinating migrations it endeavours across the equator for approximately 22,000 km.

2.

Lanner Falcon

They’re known for the striped feathers and for a small notch called tooth in their beaks.

3.

Saker Falcon

The Saker Falcon is the second largest falcon that is known for its beauty and strength.

4.

Peregrine Falcon

The Peregrine falcon is the fastest recorded animal in the world with a flight speed of up to 389km per hour.

5.

Barbary Falcon

Slightly smaller in size, the Barbary falcon is best known for its sharp and fishing hook-like beaks.

6.

Sooty Falcon

Slim and long-winged, the sooty falcons are well known for their long-distance migrations.


Of the list, Saker and Peregrine are the more popular hunters that are conventionally trapped, tamed, and prepared for the traditional quest that are sold at the falcon markets for prices ranging from QAR 30,000 to over a million Qatari riyal.

To experience the authenticity of this tradition and take a closer look at the Qatari Falconry culture visit the Falcon Souq at Souq Waqif while on your holiday in Doha. It makes the perfect place to enjoy spotting falcons, photographing them up close, and even holding them under the supervision of professionals. Closer to the area is also the Falcon hospital run by the government, which tends and cures injured falcons. You are likely to see temporarily blinded or hooded falcons which is a practice pursued as part of the taming process to keep them calm until they’re used to their surrounding or falconer.

The falconry and hunting season commences in October and visitors can make the most of this experience as spectators to learn more about the deeply-rooted national obsession of falcons and the traditional falconry.

Where to find them?

Useful information

Address

Souq waqif, Doha, Qatar

Website

Price range

$$

The Falcon Souq in Qatar and its significance to the people of Qatar make it a compelling spot for locals and visitors alike.

Gallery

  • Falcon - the national bird of Qatar
  • Falcon - the national bird of Qatar
  • Falcon - the national bird of Qatar

What other wildlife enthusiasts say?

You can tell how much Qataris value their falcons and the traditions of falconry by the number of facilities they’ve built to accommodate falcon souqs, hospitals and more. A fascinating fixation.

Falcon - the national bird of Qatar
John Traveller