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Falcons: the UAE’s First Bird - Watania Insurance

Falcons First

Falcons First

Falcons First

Motor Insurance Falcon

Falcons: the UAE’s First Bird

Images of falcons are everywhere in the United Arab Emirates—emblazoned on the national flag, the faces of buildings, government issued documents, as well as the nation’s currency.

Falcons are distinguished around the world for their hunting prowess, speed, and intelligence. The falcon is the UAE’s national bird and considered a potent symbol of the nation’s strength and heritage. These remarkable birds are, in fact, so revered here that they enjoy a level of luxury that many humans can only dream about: flying first class and having medical teams devoted to their well-being. What’s all the fuss about falcons? Here are some lesser-known facts about these prized birds.

Friends Who Feed
The importance of the mighty bird dates back thousands of years, long before the arrival of Islam in the Middle East, when early falconry presented itself as a very efficient desert survival tactic. The early desert Bedouins subsisted on a meager diet of dates, milk and bread so they swiftly established a unique relationship with these remarkable birds of prey to more efficiently feed their families.

Fast Learners
Falcons are favored for hunting by the Arabs for two important reasons. First, they can be trained with very little effort. Second, falcons can also be trained to deliver prey to their masters without killing or eating any part of it. The practice is vital to the followers of Islam as all animals to be used for food must be alive when prepared for consumption in order to ensure that the meat is halal.

Fixing Falcons
Being the UAE’s national bird has its privileges. Emiratis take falcons and the sport of falconry so seriously that in 1999 the city of Abu Dhabi opened a hospital dedicated to the birds. The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital has individual air-conditioned rooms for over 200 birds and serves over 12,000 falcons per year for everything from annual checkups and minor beautification procedures to major surgery.

First Class Falcons
Falcons are the only animals in the UAE that are legally allowed to travel on planes as passengers rather than as cargo. However, they are only allowed to travel in business and first-class. To ensure they are not illegally traded, all travelling falcons are also required to have their own passports.

Flying Falcons
Falcons can accelerate to astounding speeds and are among the fastest birds of prey in the world. They are aerodynamic, which means their bodies and wings are formed to make it easier for them to fly fast. The fastest falcon species is the Peregrine falcon, which can reach speeds of 390 kilometers per hour, making them the fastest creatures on Earth.

Fantastic Falcons
Falconry is a popular sport in the UAE and enjoyed equally by both ordinary citizens as well as the members of the royal families. The sport is practiced in the desert, and the most popular species used by falconers are saker and peregrine falcons, the latter being an especially expensive breed to obtain. Everyone can get up close with falcons and falconry when they book a popular desert safari in the UAE. The half-day excursion entails dune bashing and surfing, flying falcons, entertainment, and a sunset feast. The best part is you have the opportunity to hold a falcon on your wrist, and the snap makes a fitting souvenir for visitors.

Fashionable Falcons
The first time you encounter this magnificent bird, you might find the falcon wearing a little leather hood, which is called al burqa. The hoods are an Arab contribution to falconry brought to Europe by the Crusaders, and they can be embellished with decorative stitching, beads, and even feathers. The cap is less about fashion and instead of an essential part of the bird’s training. It is used to calm the bird and to help forge a strong bond with the falconer.

Watania, a national Takaful company in Abu Dhabi, offers Individual insurance policies that include Motor Insurance, Medical Insurance, and Home Insurance to cover you and your family for loss or damage to your personal acquisitions and property

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