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Updated by Joanna James on Jan 07, 2020
Headline for Fascinating facts about falconry in UAE – Things you need to know if intrigued by falcons
Joanna James Joanna James
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Fascinating facts about falconry in UAE – Things you need to know if intrigued by falcons

Falcons are an integrant part of the UAE culture, and they have been so since when the Bedouin culture was dominant. Emiratis still consider falcons to be their closest of companions.


Hunting buddies

Falcons were used in hunting by Bedouin hunters. Gifted with sharp eyesight and stealth, falcons are at the helm of the avian world: the falcon that belongs to Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum took down a deer and lifted it off the ground.


The oldest Emirati tradition

Long ago when oil was yet to be found in the UAE, sheikhs of the Bedouin tribes would master the desert land along with falcons as their travel companions. Emiratis still somewhat uphold the tradition, though it's all recreational now.


For recreation

Though it was an essential part of survival back when the Bedouin tribes roamed the desert, falconry now has become a recreational activity. Sightseeing in Abu Dhabi invariably includes visiting hospitals purposed with treating injured and sick falcons, resorts like Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Yamm Villa Resort are great advocates for falconry.


Becoming a falconer

If you were to become a falconer, it wouldn't involve just buying a flacon, you would also have to spend a few weeks with the falcon while training them. Falconry is no easy task; it takes hard work, and more than anything, patience. It could be a bit dangerous too, but that's what makes it so alluring.


Bucking-up parade of four years olds

Falconry is so embedded in Emirati culture; you'll see young children taking up the challenge of falconry, they are undoubtedly on their way to becoming skilled falconers.


The two types

While touring the UAE, you'll notice that there are two types of falcons. The two types, namely, would be peregrine and saker.


New laws

Falcons are an important part of Emirati culture, and so they should be protected. The UAE authorities have taken measures to protect these creatures by putting in place certain laws. They should be cared for, and after each hunting season, the falcons should be returned to the wild – this is done in order to prevent them being too domesticated. However, before releasing them into the wilderness, falcons should be thoroughly checked to make sure that they are fit and strong enough to survive the merciless wilderness.


Pioneer of falconry

Falconry has become such a great sport in the UAE all thanks to the late Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He was much involved in the activity as a child and carried the enthusiasm into his adult life. Despite his duty-bound life, he practised the sport very often thus embodying the values of falconry. He also introduced a falcon release programme and founded the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, which as it happens, is the largest hospital of its kind in the world.



Falconry requires one or two tools: a leather hood and a wooden perch. The leather hood is meant to cover the falcon's head – the purpose of this exercise is to keep the falcon focused and get them used to being around humans. The wooden perch has a wide top and can be stuck into the dessert easily. There's also the leather forearm guard used by the falconers when hunting and training.


A cause for celebrations

UAE National Day is symptomatic of the significance of falconry: falconry demonstrations are a significant part of the day as well as other heritage events. Falconry is also featured in literature and music.