Saker Falcon (FALCO CHERRUG)
The saker falcon is a big, strong, ferocious bird of prey with big feet. Saker females are markedly larger than males; females typically weigh 1135 g (2 ½ lb), have an average length of 55 cm (22 in), and a wingspan of 120 - 130 cm (5 ft). Males usually weigh 840 g (less than 2 lb), are about 45 cm long (18 in), and have a wingspan of 100 to 110 cm (3 ½ ft).
The bird simply called “saker” has variable colorations and white is a favorite. Color and pattern range from a fairly uniform base color of chocolate brown to cream with brown bars/streaks to brown-eyed leucistic individuals. Leucism is a partial loss of pigmentation in an animal—which causes white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticle, but not the eyes, genetics especially prized by Arab falconers.
Generally, the saker is a raptor of open grasslands, preferably with some trees or cliffs, and hunts by “horizontal” pursuit, rather than like the peregrine's swoop from a height. Typically, the saker falcon consumes rodents and birds.
Male and female sakers bow. To attract females, male sakers engage in spectacular aerial displays and call loudly. When the male encounters a mate or prospective mate, they bow to each other. Many of their interactions incorporate some element of bowing. When wooing a potential mate, a male will fly around dangling prey from his talons or will bring it to the female in an attempt to prove he is a good provider.
Females lay 3–6 eggs in the old stick nest. After the third egg is laid, full incubation begins and usually lasts for about 32 to 36 days. Males are attentive. They often feed their mates during this nesting period. When eggs hatch, the chick’s eyes are closed but open after a few days. They have two downy nestling plumage before attaining juvenile plumage. Adult plumage is gained when a little over a year old, after their first annual molt.
Adult falcons live approximately 6 years but can live up to 20 years of age.