Falcon sells for record $170,000 in Saudi Arabia

A Saudi man displays a falcon which was sold for SR650,000 (US$173284) during an auction at Saudi Falcons Club Auction in King Abdulaziz Festival in Mulham, north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 13, 2020, Picture taken October 13, 2020. Media Center Saudi Falcons Club Auction via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

RIYADH: A young falcon in Saudi Arabia has sold for more than $170,000, the most expensive sale ever of that type of bird and the costliest purchase so far at an annual 45-day auction.

The bird was sold on Tuesday for 650,000 Saudi riyals ($173,000) by virtue of its unique characteristics and scarcity, the auction’s organisers, the Saudi Falcon Club, said in a statement.

The club said it was the most expensive sale ever globally for its type – a young Shaheen breed, a type of peregrine falcon.

Falconry is an important part of the cultural desert heritage in Saudi Arabia and neighbouring countries going back thousands of years.

Falcon owners in the Gulf, seeking hunting opportunities, commonly travel with their birds inside plane cabins to Pakistan, Morocco and the central Asian region during colder months.