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Saker falcon

Falco cherrug

Photo: Saker falcon
Weights and measures
Length from 47 to 55 cm
Wingspan from 105 to 129 cm
State of endangerment
Animal description
The Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) is a bird of prey that belongs to the falcon family, renowned for its remarkable speed, agility, and hunting prowess. This majestic bird is one of the larger species of falcon, boasting a powerful build that enables it to excel in its natural habitats, which span across the open grasslands, semi-desert environments, and steppes of Eurasia, from Eastern Europe to Western China.

With a wingspan that can reach up to 130 centimeters (about 51 inches), the Saker Falcon is an imposing sight. Its plumage is predominantly light brown with darker streaks on the upper side, while its underparts are a lighter shade with thin, dark bars. The head is characterized by dark markings around the eyes, which provide a stark contrast to its otherwise lighter face. Juveniles tend to have a more uniform coloration which becomes more varied and pronounced with age.

Saker Falcons are versatile hunters, preying on a variety of animals such as small mammals, other birds, and even large insects. They are known for their dramatic hunting technique, which often involves a high-speed dive from a great height to strike their prey with incredible force. This bird of prey is also highly valued in falconry, especially in Arab countries, due to its keen hunting skills and adaptability to human training.

Despite their prowess and adaptability, Saker Falcons face significant threats from human activities. Habitat destruction, primarily due to agricultural expansion and urbanization, poses a significant challenge to their natural living spaces. Additionally, they are threatened by direct persecution, electrocution from power lines, and, notably, the illegal wildlife trade, which has significantly reduced their numbers in the wild. As a result, the Saker Falcon is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, highlighting the urgent need for conservation efforts to protect this magnificent bird.

Conservation initiatives for the Saker Falcon include habitat protection, research and monitoring to better understand their ecology and threats, and efforts to combat illegal trade. There is also a focus on sustainable falconry practices, including captive breeding programs to reduce the pressure on wild populations.

In summary, the Saker Falcon is a remarkable bird of prey, celebrated for its hunting skill and beauty. However, its existence is threatened by human activities, making conservation efforts critical to ensure that future generations can continue to witness the majesty of this incredible falcon.
Map of occurrence
Photo: Saker falcon - occurrence
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