Know more about Qatar National Bird, Falcon

Falcons are hawk-family birds of prey with hook-beaked beaks and keen eyesight. They also have powerful talons. Falcons are revered and adored as the national bird of Qatar and are unquestionably an integral part of the country’s rich heritage and culture.


Origin of Falcons

They are ferocious diurnal birds that hunt effectively in the light of day. Falcons stealthily swoop down on their prey as soon as they detect it because they have vision that is nearly 8 times as good as the sharpest human vision. The characteristics of this wild bird gave rise to the custom of hunting fresh meat to improve the diet of desert nomads more than 5000 years ago in Iran, and it expanded across the Middle Eastern nations over time. The art of this heritage was brought to Qatar by the Bedouins. In this region of the world, falcons are a common raptor and are seen as symbols of wealth and aristocracy since keeping a healthy falcon requires a lot of money and effort. These fearsome predators arrive in the nation in the spring and often live 12 to 15 years.


Species of Falcons

There are six different species of falcons, each with unique traits:

  1. The Amur Falcon is renowned for its interesting migrations, which span over 22,000 kilometres of the equator.
  2. Lanner Falcon is distinguished by their striped feathers and a little tooth-shaped notch on its beaks.
  3. The Saker Falcon, which is the second-largest falcon and is renowned for its beauty and power, is a magnificent bird.
  4. The Peregrine Falcon, whose maximum flying speed is 389 kilometres per hour, is the fastest animal ever seen.
  5. Barbary Falcon, a little smaller in size, is most renowned for its beaks, which are razor-sharp and resemble fishing hooks.
  6. Sooty Falcon, which is long-winged and lean, are well-known for their extensive travels.

The two most popular hunters on the list, Saker and Peregrine, are routinely captured, tamed, and ready for the traditional hunt.


Art of Falconry

Falconry is a traditional skill that dates back to the Bedouin tribes’ use of the raptor to hunt migratory birds for food. Every time a bird and its trainer form a relationship, it makes for an excellent hunting alliance. This lone bird teaches its falconers, among other things, perseverance, bravery, and patience.


Falcons at Souq Waqif

Visit the Falcon Souq in Souq Waqif while on vacation in Doha to get a feel for how real this custom is and to learn more about Qatari falconry culture. It is the ideal location for enjoying falcon spotting, up-close photography, and even falcon holding under expert supervision. The government-run Falcon hospital, which treats and heals injured falcons, is located nearby. As part of the taming process, it’s common to see falcons who have been temporarily blindfolded or hooded to keep them calm until they become accustomed to their surroundings or the falconer. The falconry and hunting season starts in October, and tourists can take advantage of this opportunity to watch and learn more about traditional falconry and the deeply ingrained national passion for falcons.


Katara International Hunting and Falcons Festival

Additionally, one of the biggest events in the area devoted to falcons and hunting is the Al Gannas-organized Katara International Hunting and Falcons Festival. The event is becoming more well-known throughout the Gulf area. The Al Gannas Association’s main office is housed in the Katara Cultural Village Foundation, in one of the area’s most recognisable structures that are shaped like the hood used to calm a falcon. It has been ranked as Doha’s seventh most well-known landmark. A unique display of stuffed raptors, including the most significant species that can be found in Qatar’s wild, is housed at the organization’s purpose-built headquarters. Additionally, it offers falconry training and includes a lecture hall.

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