Saker Falcon

Appearance

The male Saker Falcon is approximately 45 cm tall, and has a wing span of 1m – 1.10m. It weighs about 730 to 990 grams, while a female Saker Falcon is about 55 cm tall with a wing span of 1.20m – 1.30m, and weighs from 970 to 1’300 grams, making the female larger than the male.

It is a large bird with a curved beak. It can be a variety of colors, from chocolate brown, to a pale sandy color with brown streaks, or even a snowy white.

Habitat 

The Saker falcon can live in Eastern Europe to western China, and they migrate to China, India, the Middle East, some parts of Africa and the Mediterranean.

They like open grasslands, and prefer if it has a few trees and bushes, and like to hunt close to the ground, and like desert land, and forests.

Their habitat is under threat, as the grasslands are being destroyed.

Communication 

Saker Falcons mostly communicate with their actions or how they stand.

An Upright Threat is one of the most aggressive ways of communicating, in which the bird will stand up straight, and puff out their face, spread their wings, hisses, cackles, attacks with its feet. It is mostly used by adults protecting their chicks, or while they are trying to defend their nests.

They also bow to please, or calm down their mate.

To communicate yielding they will bow with their beak tilted to the side.

Diet

It usually eats voles, gerbils, hares, stoats, ground squirrels, and small animals that live around their habitat.

They can dive for their prey at 200 mph!

Behaviours

Saker Falcons begin breeding at 2 to 3 years of age in the springtime. Male Saker Falcons will fly around and use their call to attract a mate. If the female accepts the male, she joins in the calling.  The female lays two to three eggs.

When the chicks hatch they can fly after about 30 to 45 days, then they stay around their nests territory for 30 to 45 more days. The mother will chirp to get the chicks to open their beaks, and the chicks will chirp to get their parents attention.

The Saker falcon will call aggressively to get other birds out of their territory. They are very aggressive birds, and often try to steal food from each other.  They are also very persistent, and most of the time they won’t give up on their prey until they catch it.

The females are also generally the more dominant gender.

Nesting

The Saker Falcon generally nests in trees, about 15 – 20 meters in the air, or in the rougher, harsher areas, they will nest on the sides of cliffs, 8 – 50 meters high, in nests made out of sticks.

They don’t often build their own nests, preferring to steal other bird’s nests, which are not being used anymore, or even drive another bird out of their nest.

They like to nest in parkland and the edge of open forests.

Population  

The Saker Falcons population has gone down a lot in the past few years, and it is now considered an endangered species.

Some of the reasons for this are that they have been caught for illegal falconry trade, loss of habitat, flying into power lines, nest robbery, and being poisoned by farmers.

Significance to country

The Saker Falcon is the national animal of Mongolia. They decided on this through a public survey.

They chose the Saker Falcon, because they thought that it represented glory, and pride in their country.

Conservation 

The Saker Falcon is protected by falconry trading laws.

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