About Falconry

The History

Falconry is the art of training and using a bird of prey to hunt. It is a centuries-old tradition that has been practiced in many cultures around the world. The earliest records of falconry come from the Middle East, dating back to the 4th millennium BC.

Falconry was originally practiced as a means of subsistence. Birds of prey were used to hunt game, such as rabbits, hares, and ducks. As civilizations developed, falconry became more of a sport and a status symbol. In many cultures, only the wealthy and powerful were allowed to practice falconry.

Falconry was introduced to South Africa by the Dutch settlers in the 16th century. The Dutch used falcons to hunt game, such as quail and partridge. In the 17th century, the British settlers also began to practice falconry in South Africa.

Falconry continued to be popular in South Africa throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. However, it declined in popularity in the early 20th century, due to the introduction of firearms. However, falconry was revived in South Africa in the 1960s.

Practice and Basics

The following extract is an adapted version of the chapter "Training in brief" from "Falconry & Hawking 3rd Edition" by Phillip Glasier. Falconry is often misunderstood as a hobby that requires immense amounts of time and effort. While it's true that a certain amount of time must be spent every day with your bird, the process of training a bird for falconry is not as daunting as it may seem. Here's what you can expect:

Stage One:


Manning, or making the bird tame and used to humans, is the first step. All wild animals are usually afraid of humans, so a new bird must be induced to get over its fear before it can be expected to come to you or to hunt for you.

Stage Two:

Obedience Training

Training the bird to come to you, first on a line and then loose, is essential. Unless your bird is obedient and comes when called, it will disappear very quickly. Initially, training is based on the reward system, with the bird being rewarded with food.

Stage Three:

Fitness Training

During the first two stages, the bird is not flying very much, and it can lose a bit of muscle. Getting the bird fit is crucial. Until you have got it fit, you cannot expect it to hunt successfully.

Stage Four:


The culmination of the first three stages is hunting. This is where the bird is trained to hunt successfully, and it's the most rewarding part of the process.

E= Easy D = Difficult




















Hawk Eagles & Eagles

All these take a long time, especially in stage 3.

Different birds react differently to these stages, and the time taken to train a bird varies.

Many people think that there is a certain amount of mystique attached to falconry, along with various carefully guarded craft secrets. This is not true. The earlier you get your bird flying and fit, the easier the whole thing becomes.

Every falconer has their own methods of training, and the rules are generally the same. If you intend to learn falconry from people, gather many opinions and then form your own. All falconers have their own quirks, you just have to figure out what works for you.

Falconry is very demanding, and mistakes made by the falconer are often heavily paid for with long distance traveling. You may get away with the occasional lapse, but sooner or later, a small mistake can have disastrous results.

To end, falconry is a deeply rewarding but complex and demanding pursuit. It requires a serious commitment, a willingness to learn, and a respect for the birds and the art itself. If you have the patience, persistence, and a genuine 'feeling' for falconry, you can learn and succeed in this beautiful art.

If you’re willing to put in the effort, then a bird is definitely for you.

Contact your local Club

Mpumalanga Falconry Club
Eastern Cape Falconry Club
Boland Falconry Club
Cape Falconry Club
Natal Falconry Club
North Eastern (Limpopo) Falconers Club
North West Falconers Club
Transvaal Falconry Club
Free State Falconry Club