Saker falcon: photo and description

Saker falcon: photo and description
Saker falcon: photo and description

Everyone knows a feathered predator - a falcon, but not everyone knows that it has varieties. One of them is the saker falcon.

Who is Saker Falcon

Saker or Balaban, Itelgi or Itelge, Sharg, Rarog - there are many names, but the essence is the same. All of them designate a species from the falcon family, perhaps the most dangerous predator among all its representatives. The exact origin of the word "saker" is unknown. There are suggestions that it is borrowed from the Iranian name of this bird. One of her other names is sharg. It comes from the Latin name for the falcon: Falco cherrug.

saker falcon

The saker falcon is a sedentary predator. Only those birds that live in the north roam. Despite the fact that the saker falcon itself is only a kind of falcon, it has several subspecies, which we will discuss in more detail below.

Saker falcon: characteristics of the species

Any Saker Falcon is a fairly large bird, whose dimensions can exceed sixty centimeters in length. The difference in body length makes it easy to distinguish the female from the male. As a rule, female individuals are larger. The mass of the saker falcon at the same time ranges from one to one and a half kilograms. Wingspanan adult is 1-1.5 m.

From the description and photo of the saker falcon, you can see that the appearance of males and females does not differ from each other. This is quite a beautiful bird of an interesting color. Their head is usually light brown with dark spots, dark brown or gray is the upper body, while there are light or red stripes. The breast, on the contrary, is light, and the stripes on it are dark. The lower body and paws are almost white, sometimes with a light yellow tint. The beak is bluish with a black tip, the eyes are surrounded by yellow circles. From the characteristics and photos of the saker falcon, you can see what a beautiful bird it is!

saker falcon photo and description

Interestingly, the closer to the east, the more intense the color of the bird, in addition, the chicks usually have a more saturated color. The offspring, having been born, has a white fluff, which then turns slightly gray. Feathers, both tail feathers and flight feathers, begin to grow in the third week of life. It is characteristic that the development of males is somewhat faster than females, this fact also applies to the growth of feathers.

Subspecies of Saker Falcon

There are six subspecies of the bird:

  • Saker Falcon. The most numerous subspecies. Lives in Eastern Europe, Kazakhstan and on the border of Kazakhstan and Russia.
  • Turkestan Saker Falcon lives in the mountains of Central Asia. At the present time, it is not known for certain whether it has survived.
  • The Mongolian Saker Falcon, as you might guess, lives in Mongolia, as well as in China, Transbaikalia, Tuva and Altai.
  • Tibetan Saker Falconinhabits Tibet.
  • Chink Saker Falcon lives in the Aral-Caspian region.
  • Central Asian Saker Falcon. The bird can be found in the mountains of Central Asia.

It is important to understand that there are not only purebred Saker Falcons. In many regions, for example, in Southern Siberia, crossed species live: hybrids of the common, Central Asian and Mongolian Saker Falcons.


saker falcon red book

Saker Falcon lives in the mountains, steppes and forest-steppes, as well as in the zone of mixed and deciduous forests. Geographically, they are distributed in the south of Siberia, in Transbaikalia, Eastern Europe, Kazakhstan, China, and Central Asia. Birds living in the northern regions are migratory; they begin to roam in October. Saker falcons return to their nesting sites in the second half of March.


This type of bird is very rare. It is listed in the Red Book. The saker falcon is on the verge of extinction, its number in nature is constantly decreasing. Ten years ago, the number of birds was approximately eight and a half thousand individuals. For almost thirty years, a nursery has been operating in the Galichya Gora nature reserve in the Lipetsk region, where Saker Falcons are bred.

Why Saker Falcon disappears

There are several reasons for the extinction of the saker falcon. First of all, this is due to falconry smuggling to Arab countries, in which hunting for these birds is allowed. In addition, Saker Falcons often die due to poisoning with poisons for rodents or on power lines, as a result of attacks on them by eagle owls (thisthe only natural enemy of Saker Falcons), due to the devastation of nests by humans, as well as extreme climatic conditions.


Saker falcon is a bird of prey. It feeds on small rodents (for example, ground squirrels), as well as hares, pigeons, partridges, ducks, and large lizards. All potential "food" is very afraid of Saker Falcons. When the victim sees a falcon in the sky, she tends to lie low and not leave the holes. At the same time, Saker Falcons do not hunt near their own nests, and small mammals readily use this fact.

falcon saker mass

The saker falcon seeks out prey, as a rule, near the water, next to rocks or trees, that is, in the area where it is clearly visible. Saker falcon flies to the victim at high speed, sometimes it can even reach two hundred and fifty kilometers per hour. Flying up to the prey, the speed of the bird does not decrease. At the same time, the Saker Falcon does not receive injuries, the reason is a strong skull and joints.

The bird kills the victim with lightning speed and very quietly: falling at a right angle, he hits her hard in the side. As a rule, death occurs instantly. If this did not happen, the saker strikes a second blow, thereby finishing off the victim. The bird absorbs food immediately on the spot or takes it to the nest.


The saker falcon is different in that it never builds nests itself, but only occupies others. As a rule, crows, buzzards and long-legged buzzards suffer from saker raids, but it happens that the saker falcon invades even the eagle's dwelling. As a rule, the bird seeks to settle on rocks and hills. The maximum that a Saker Falcon can do innest - to make "minor repairs", if it is already completely dilapidated. To do this, he uses dry branches, shrub shoots, skins of dead rodents, fluff, and wool. It is interesting that sometimes the saker falcon occupies several nests at once and lives in them in turn.


Saker falcons mate immediately after they have found and equipped their home. As a rule, this happens in April or in the last days of March. The female lays from three to six eggs, which can be yellow, red, red, brown or brown with dark spots. They have to hatch for thirty to forty days. As a rule, the future mother sits on the eggs, but the father replaces her in the evenings. At other times of the day, he provides food and takes care of the female.

Saker falcon characteristics

Chicks are usually born in May. They are fed with small birds and rodents. Saker falcon chicks spend about a month and a half in the nest, then gradually begin to learn to fly. They completely fly on the wing at about the age of two months, at the same time they begin to search for their own food on their own. This happens in July-August. Puberty in Saker Falcons occurs at the age of one year, and the total life expectancy in the wild is approximately twenty years (however, there are cases when Saker Falcons lived up to thirty).

Interesting facts

  1. Related species that are very similar to the Saker Falcon are the Peregrine Falcon and the Gyrfalcon. The saker falcon is somewhat lighter. However, some scientists believe that the bird is a northern species of gyrfalcons.
  2. Mosta popular form of falconry is with Saker Falcons.
  3. The saker falcon is strongly attached to its owner.
  4. Saker falcons are mentioned in all ancient works.
  5. The saker falcon does not hunt during the day, it flies out in the morning or evening to get food.
  6. The scientific name of the falcon (Falco) translates as "sickle". So these birds are named because of the shape of their wings during flight.
  7. These are some of the smartest birds on earth.
  8. Saker falcons provide invaluable assistance in the fight against rodents, like all falcons, they are excellent watchmen.
  9. The saker falcon is by nature a loner, it converges with another bird only for procreation.
  10. Falcons are one of the fastest birds in the world.
  11. Saker falcon is a totem bird in Ancient Egypt.
saker falcon characteristics and photo

On our planet, in addition to the saker falcon, there are many other species of animals and birds that are extremely interesting, but are on the verge of extinction, including through human fault. Our task is to do everything to prevent this.

Popular topic