2019 Photo Contest, Nature, Stories, 1st Prize

Falcons and the Arab Influence

Photographer

Brent Stirton

Getty Images for National Geographic

02 December, 2018

Rashid bin Maktoum bin Butti al-Maktoum ties a falcon to a perch at a hunting camp in the desert near Abu Dhabi, UAE. This camp uses captive-bred houbara bustards as prey.

The millennia-old practice of falconry is experiencing an international resurgence, especially as a result of efforts in the Arab world. UNESCO now recognises falconry as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (ICH), a status enjoyed by no other hunting sport. Falcons bred in captivity have helped diminish the trade in captured wild birds, including some species that are listed as endangered. But some falcons in the wild continue to be at risk from capture and other anthropogenic factors such as electrocution on badly designed powerlines, habitat degradation and agrochemicals. Similarly, although the breeding of birds such as houbara bustards for prey has made hunting a more sustainable practice, the British Ornithologists’ Union reported that the wild houbara population continued to decline.

About the photographer

Brent Stirton

Brent Stirton is a special correspondent for Getty Images, and a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine as well as other international titles.  He speci...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
1/500
Focal length
31 mm
F-Stop
f/8
ISO
100
Camera
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

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