Golden eagle

Traditions and customs

Berkut (means the master of the rain, God who engages in a dispute with Allah) – the name of the large eagle. Among the nomads the golden eagle has taken  a special place since the ancient times, it was used as a bird of prey to hunt hares, foxes, wolves, deer and saiga antelope. Today this ancient tradition is practiced only in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

In Kyrgyzstan, traditional, group hunting using hunting birds, hounds, and archery is called salbuurun, and hereditary hunters – berkutchi.  They sharpen their skills from the childhood, and then pass on the secrets from generation to generation. Training eagle takes months, sometimes even years.

The Golden eagle lives mostly in the mountains. The bird has not only incredible strength, but also sharp vision. For example,  the eagle can see a hare at a distance of two km while hunting, having seen a potential prey, the eagle swoops at speeds up to 320 km/h, then paw grabs the victim by the head and the other behind his back and broke the spine or beating the game in the neck with a sharp beak, tearing of major vessels.

In Kyrgyzstan, the eagle listed in the Red book. Life expectancy of Golden eagles in the wild is on average 23 years, in captivity up to 50 years.