RIYADH (Dispatches) – An Ultra White Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) has sold at a live-televised Saudi auction for nearly half a million dollars, setting a new world record for the most expensive falcon ever sold.
The sale of the bird of prey fetched 1.75 million Saudi riyals ($464,400) during the International Falcon Breeders Auction (IFBA) which was held at the headquarters of the Saudi Falcon Club, located in Malham just over 40 miles north of the capital Riyadh.
The young falcon came from the Pacific Northwest Falcons Farm based in the U.S. and measures 16.5 inches long and weighs 980 grams. Last month Arab News reported that on the eighth-day of the event, a Super White Gyrfalcon from a Canadian-based breeder sold for $93,347 which was considered the highest amount paid at a Saudi auction.
According to the Saudi Falcon Club’s spokesman Walid Al-Taweel, the auction started last month and brought together breeders from 14 countries with around 400 falcons sold, totaling a record ten million riyals ($2.7 million)
Other falcon-related events are also set to take place in the kingdom, including a major Saudi falconry exhibition next month over ten days. “It will be the only platform in the kingdom that draws companies and individuals from inside and outside the kingdom selling falconry hunting equipment,” Taweel was quoted as saying by the Saudi news agency SPA.
Falconry is considered an important part of Bedouin history in the Arabian Peninsula dating back almost 10,000 years according to archaeological evidence.