Saudi Arabia’s falcon auction houses exhibit the finest birds of prey

Saudi Arabia’s falcon auction houses exhibit the finest birds of prey
Saad Mallouh Aldahmashi, owner of Sultan Falcon Center, shows one of his most precious falcons. He hopes the number of auctions increase in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
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Updated 25 October 2021

Saudi Arabia’s falcon auction houses exhibit the finest birds of prey

Saudi Arabia’s falcon auction houses exhibit the finest birds of prey
  • Falcon’s type, age, length, weight, and color contribute to setting of exorbitant prices at auctions

RIYADH: Some of the world’s most exquisite falcons have been auctioned at the Saudi International Falcons Auction, with prices elevated due to fierce competition between buyers at the 45-day event which began Oct. 1.

One peregrine falcon, not yet a year old, became the most expensive of its type in 2021 when it was auctioned for SR405,000 ($108,000) last week, breaking the previous record price of SR206,000.

Saad Mallouh Aldahmashi, who bought it, and who owns the Sultan Falcon Center in Arar, told Arab News that the peregrine immediately drew his attention. “I said to myself, I will buy come what may,” he added.

“My friend confirmed to me that the falcon was in perfect health and looked stronger than the videos published about it.When the auction began, I did not say anything and waited until the price hit SR280,000. Two more people were bidding on the price until it reached SR480,000,” he said.

He noted that if the price had kept going higher than that, he would still have bid and not stopped until he got it. “I thought the price would stop at SR605,000, but it did not.”

He pointed out that he sold a similar falcon for SR610,000 two years ago at his center. At the time, the falcon, which was also less than a year old, registered the highest price in the auction.

Aldahmashi, who has more than 15 years of experience in the field, hopes to increase the number of auctions in Saudi Arabia’s regions, to increase competition, and to allow residents of the regions to attend auctions up close, stressing that this is an essential requirement for amateur enthusiasts.

Nawaf Mamdouh Alshraim- falconer (Supplied)

Nawaf Mamdouh Alshraim, another falconer, said that the falcon’s type, age, length, weight, and color all contribute to setting the price. As someone who has been in the business for 16 years, he said that breeding falcons requires significant experience.

“You have to have the ability and experience to know when the falcon is normal, sick or tired. You should teach him how to get the prey and return to you,” said Alshraim.

“The quality of the falcon is reflected in its ability to hunt prey,” he explained.

The saker and peregrine falcons are the most expensive, especially the youngest birds. He explained that they are small in size, 16 inches wide and another 16 inches tall, adding that the perfect weight would be around 1.1 kg and above.

Alshraim, who lives in northeast Saudi Arabia, believes that the Malhem auction is the go-to place for falconers. “The auction has many attractions for amateur falconers, and it is held during the bird migration, and has attracted many of the experts and amateurs in the last years through the facilities it offers,” he noted.

The Saudi Falcon Club provides medical examinations for falcons and also provides accommodation for owners before the auction is held. The auction is aired on live TV and the club’s social media accounts. There is no fee on sale transactions, and when a falcon is sold, the club issues an export certificate and official documents for the transaction.