Fazza Championship for Falconry

Fazza Championship for Falconry is the most popular of the various Fazza heritage competitions. Sponsored by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the falconry championships have gained tremendous popularity over the years, prompting the organizers to increase the prize fund for the tournaments and introduce new competition categories, thus further elevating the championships’ status as one of the most prominent heritage tournaments globally.

The sport of falconry – known locally as “kanas” (hunting) – is an integral part of the heritage of the UAE and stretches back hundreds of years. Falconry originated in the Arabian Peninsula and holds a special place in Arab culture and civilization, where it was practiced as a means of obtaining food.

Human records, excavations and ancient texts prove that the sport of falconry emerged with the advent of civilization and was known in the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf region since 4,000 years. The sport then spread throughout the Muslim world and onwards to Europe and North America and is regarded as one of the noblest forms of hunting known throughout history.

In the UAE, the hunting season begins in autumn, when the migrating “Houbara” birds start to arrive between late September and early October until around March when the summer heat begins. In the past, Arab falconers would capture falcons passing across the Arabian Peninsula towards the south at the start of winter and use all their skills to tame the wild birds to turn them into trained, highly skilled predators. At the time, the falconers went hunting on foot or on camelback, and preys were freely available in the nearby areas. These days, however, preys are scarce to come by, forcing hunters to travel long distances or even abroad.

Among the most important types of falcons is the “Horr Saker”. The name ‘Horr’ describes a type of falcon that shares a number of common characteristics while varying in size, color and capabilities. The different types of “Horr” falcons include the ‘Shangar’, ‘the Seniary’, ‘the White’, ‘the Adham’, ‘the Safi’, ‘the Jerodi’, and ‘the Ahmar, Akhdar and Ashkar’.

Another prominent type of falcon is the “Shaheen”, meaning ‘scales’ in Persian. It is thus described due to its extreme, insatiable appetite.