Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Saker Falcon

Falco cherrug

Saker falcons are the second largest falcon species in the world, smaller only than the Gyrfalcon. These powerful birds are recognizable by their brown underbellies and contrasting grey flight feathers, with streaking on their breast.

Range & Habitat

This species breeds from Eastern Europe eastward across Asia and prefers open grassy landscapes such as desert edge, semi-desert, steppes, agricultural and arid montane areas. 

Conservation Status: Endangered

This species' population is in serious decline, largely due to habitat loss and capture for the falconry trade.


In the Wild:  Ground squirrels, rabbits and other rodents.

At the Zoo:  Chicken, rats, mice and quail.

Life Span

In the Wild: up to 15 years
In Human Care: 25+ years

Fun Facts about the Saker Falcon

  •   The Saker falcon is adapted for horizontal hunting, swooping low over open ground to catch rodents or ground-dwelling birds.
  •   The Saker falcon is the national bird of Hungary and a Hungarian mythological bird, the Turul, was probably a Saker falcon.
  •   In Disney's "Mulan," the Hun leader Shan Yu owns a Saker falcon called Hayabusa.
  •  Falcons can reach speeds up to 200 mph in pursuit of prey.
Updated February 25, 2021