Saker Falcon, A National Bird of Mongolia

Post by Admin

Saker Falcon is a National bird of Mongolia, a wonderful bird of prey and symbol of power and freedom in human culture. In Mongolian and central Asian history, Saker falcon is considered that it has been used as falconry species for thousands of years. Let us discover this iconic falcon.



SCIENTIFIC NAME: Falco cherrug


POPULATION: ~ 6,100-14,900 (2014)


IN MONGOLIA: Resident/partial migrant

DIET: Carnivore

LIFESPAN: 15-17 years

LENGTH: 49-55 cm

WINGSPAN: 105-129cm

Fact Resource:

Saker Falcon is a deadly hunter of the Steppes


According to the news site described about hunting of Saker falcon as “The chance for prey to escape death when targeted by a Saker falcon is close to zero, given its strong talons and curved, sharp beak. They are so notorious for their ruthless, quick and precise hunting skills that no other birds are stupid enough to challenge the shaker falcons' reputation in the sky”. Undoubtedly Saker falcon is a deadly hunter on the steppes, and is adapted to hunting close to the ground in open terrain. 

saker falcon hunt its prey mongolia

It has long hooked beak with large talons used to catch mainly small to medium sized mammals.  talons to capture the animal and beak to and attack the spine and paralyze the prey, whose death is almost certain because of inflicted injury even if escapes immediate capture. Saker. Falcons may be sedentary, partly-migratory, or fully-migratory depending on food availability in the winter.


Conservation of the Saker falcon in Mongolia

Saker falcons are widespread in Mongolia and Mongolia holds 1 in 3 Saker falcons in the world, according to IUCN research data. It tells us that we are responsible for preserving this remarkable raptor for the benefits of natural and cultural aspects. According to the researches, the main causes of population declines in Mongolia are loss degradation of steppes through agricultural intensification, climate change, declining its main prey species through habitat changes, trapping adult falcons or nest robbery for trade and electrocution on power lines. Mongolian government officials, Wildlife Conservation Center of Mongolia and the other communities of scientists, biologists and individuals have been working on conservation projects in last years, such as erecting artificial nests and improving power line engineers in all possible ways to stop raptor electrocution.  


Saker Falcon is A National Bird of Mongolia

saker falcon national bird of mongolia

The Mongolian government identified the Saker Falcon as the national bird in November 2012. Members of the Mongolian Ornithological Society and Ornithological Laboratory of the National University of Mongolia organized a vote to decide the National Bird covering Mongolian citizens and had been collecting the votes for 3 years. The results of the vote of first 5 birds that the Saker falcon was the most favored (47.5%), the second was Mongolian Lark (15%), the third was Gyr Falcon (12.2%), the fourth was White-naped Crane (4.6%) and the fifth was Steppe Eagle (3.2%). For this, Mongolia is the 88th country in the world which has a national bird and become one of the three countries (Hungary, United Arab Emirates, and Mongolia) which identified The Saker Falcon of its National Bird.


Saker falcon is in human culture as a hunting partner

Hunting with tamed falcons and eagles has been practiced in many parts of the World. Throughout the humanity’s cultural history, especially in the world of falconry, the Central Asian nomadic tribes have been playing important role practicing and inheriting this wonderful tradition. Hunting was a priority of people from the prehistoric period and that time most food, clothing and almost all other unnecessary items have been obtained only from hunting. For the Mongolians, they have had historical traditions and systematical knowledge of falconry, worshipping, feeding and training to hunt and catch wild animals with splendid and powerful birds.

saker falcon hunting partner

saker falcon falconry heritage mongolia

In historical sources, the fastest hunting birds are big falcons such as Gyr falcon, Peregrine and Saker falcon which have capability to catch animals bigger that themselves. Also in that book, described as it is common that a good trained Saker falcon can catch bigger mammals, such as Black-tailed gazelle.


Experience Contemporary Falconry in Mongolia  

We are happy to let you know that we still keeping this amazing heritage. And welcoming you to experience beautiful old tradition by yourself. This trip takes you journey back to 13 th century of Great Mongol Empire through ancient Falconry sport. That’s why, we invite you to understand the great history, how falconry is being influenced. Also you can visit Kazakh falconry, hunting with golden eagle in western Mongolia. Since Kazakh people reside in Mongolia, they have been keeping and practising eagle hunting tradition. So in Mongolia you can experience old falconry forms both of Mongolian and Kazakh.