Scientific name

Falco cherrug

Locally known as


IUCN status



The saker falcon is a small, powerful bird of prey with a broad wingspan for its size. It has sharp, curved talons for grasping prey, while their strong, hooked beak is used to tear its preys’ flesh. Their colour and pattern range from chocolate brown to a pale sandy colour with brown streaks, to almost pure white individuals.

Key threats

Electrocution, habitat loss and degradation, illegal trapping and trade, poisoning and

Where they're found today

Across the Palearctic region from Eastern Europe to Western China, with wintering or passage populations regularly recorded in the Mediterranean, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Abu Dhabi’s efforts

For more than 20 years, EAD has been undertaking research and conservation efforts on breeding and migratory birds. EAD has undertaken extensive studies on the Saker ecology and movement in Mongolia and other parts of its range. Its effort to provide 5,000 artificial nesting sites in the Mongolian grasslands created new breeding opportunities for Saker Falcons in areas where natural nesting sites were scarce, with hundreds of pairs producing thousands of fledglings each year from the nests provided. In 1996, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of the UAE, set up The Sheikh Zayed Falcon Release Programme, which has since helped more than 1,000 individuals return to the wild. A Saker Global Action Plan (GAP) has been developed by CMS Raptors Unit in Abu Dhabi.

Fun facts

  1. They use their powerful, hooked beak to sever their prey’s vertebral column.
  2. They occupy abandoned nests of other bird species.
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