Falcons will be back at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition this year for the most beautiful bird pageant.
The October 2 contest will draw falcons and their owners from around the world to compete for the title of "most beautiful captive-bred falcon".
Competition will be fierce across the three main categories: most beautiful saker; most beautiful gyr; and most beautiful gyr peregrine. Birds are assessed on several criteria, such as weight and body measurements; symmetry and colour of the feathers; the details of the head, body and legs; the general aesthetic appearance; and health and absence of disease.
Majid Al Mansouri, chairman of the Adihex higher organising committee and secretary general of the Emirates Falconers Club, said Abu Dhabi was a leader in safeguarding cultural heritage, conserving wildlife and protecting the environment.
"Adihex was the first to launch this unique event in the world, and through it, the idea of this contest was transferred to many countries," Mr Mansouri said.
The hunting of wild animals, including falcons, was banned in the UAE in 1978, but illegal smuggling of birds stolen from the wild is a global problem. Since then the UAE has sought to conserve wildlife and protect falcons in the wild with programmes that promote captive-bred falcons.
The President, Sheikh Mohamed, launched the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Raptor Conservation Fund to support initiatives protecting endangered birds of prey globally, falcons and other species.
Adihex runs in Abu Dhabi from September 26 to October 2.