A Falconer with His Falcon near Al-Ain


This 1965 photograph shows a huntsman with his falcon near Al-Ain, a desert oasis located approximately 160 kilometers east of the city of Abu Dhabi in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Falconry is both a sport and a means of hunting for food that developed over centuries in the Arab world and in other countries. Known as the “sport of shaykhs,” falconry was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010. The photograph is from the Colonel Edward "Tug" Bearby Wilson Collection in the National Library, Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, and was taken by Wilson. Colonel Tug Wilson (1921–2009) was a British army officer who, in the 1960s, was seconded to the government of Abu Dhabi to help build the national defense force. He was a personal friend of the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Shaykh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (1918–2004), with whom he shared interests in falconry and horseback riding.

Last updated: November 23, 2011