TABIYAZT: The Moroccan Falconry

مهرجان الصقور Flight Hunting - Falconry

TABIYAZT: The Moroccan Falconry

Falconry, Al Bayzara, Tabiyazt, al Sayd B-Ettaïr al Horr, Assaqqara, or falcon hunting is the art of capturing live preys with raptors specially trained for this purpose.

The practice of TABIYAZT has appeared in Morocco with the advent of the Arabs in the Maghreb, since the 12th century. This mode of hunting was, then, widespread, both in the royal community and among nomadic and semi-nomadic communities.

Historical texts attest to the interest that the Sultans of Morocco – since the Almohad (13th century) to the modern Alawi (since the seventeenth century)- granted to the art of TABIYAZT and the role played by the Falcon in the diplomatic exchanges of Morocco with the other Eastern and Western sovereigns.

It is quite difficult to specify a date regarding the beginning of the practice of the art of falconry in Morocco. Nevertheless, the practice of TABIYAZT appeared in our country with the advent of the Arabs in the Maghreb, in particular, from the 12th century onwards. This mode of hunting then spread, both among the ruling elite and among nomadic and semi-nomadic communities. The historical texts attest to the interest that the Sultans of Morocco, from the time Almohad at the time Alawi, granted to the art of TABIYAZT and the role played by the Falcon in the diplomatic exchanges of Morocco with the other sovereigns of the East and the West . The Dahirs of the nineteenth century testify to the importance attributed to this activity by the Alawi sultans who have continually encouraged the Kouassem families of Doukkala, known for a long time by their passion for falconry, and who have managed to Keep this tradition alive until today.

Attracted by the exploits of this bird in the pursuit and capture of prey, the man first used it for hunting purposes before making his use an art and a fascinating leisure sport that has its ethics and rules, demanding patience and perseverance To capture the Falcon, maintain it, affaiter it, and make it hunt.

Falconry has traditionally been practised by the Kwassems tribe in the Doukkala region for a very long time. It is exercised in the open areas adjacent to their homes. The kind of Falcon most used is the pilgrim called “Bahri” and “Nandagiri”, it is captured in the regions of the cities Essaouira and Safi with a traditional method: a net is stretched around three stakes and on which one places a pigeon serving as bait. Attracted by the agitation of the pigeon, the hawk hovers around him, then he attacks him. At that time the Falcon is hung in the net and then captured by the falconer. This one proceeds, then, to its affaitage and its initiation to the hunt of the game, which can last several weeks. The kind of game hunted and the most widespread in Morocco is of type Curlew garish called locally korzit -Burhinus oedicnemus-.

The practice of this art has succeeded in bringing together a large number of passionate followers in several regions of the world federated notably by the international Association of falconry, of which Morocco is an active member.

“Rich in these centuries-old traditions and its many variations, what is really Falconry?
Essentially it is a dramatization, and a personalized form of ornithology. This implies a type of proxy hunting, where the human identifies with the raptor and consents to a role of secondary importance. This identification is so absolute that sometimes the falconer is literally incarnated in the bird. He then enters the inflexible world of nature, where death is common, and every minute of life, an accomplishment. And in this world, what seems familiar to us suddenly takes on a new meaning. Man is metamorphosed, he acquires a fraction of the hawk’s qualities and feels the excitement of his fiery flight. Falconry allows us to take part in a complete ritual, consisting of a beginning, a purpose and a definite goal suddenly accessible. She offers us a real collaboration that requires a sense of responsibility, creativity, and a taste for risk. Could this be a way to escape the confusion and stagnation inherent in modern life? because Falconry raises the spirit, broadens our horizons and instills in us a certain philosophy. How else can we explain this fascination exerted on us by a bird, which is after all a heap of feathers and a few pounds of flesh?
What, then, is falconry, if not a form of love, a form of forgotten love.
An old poem summarizes this thought well: “There comes a time when the bird on your fist is ready to fly, as it moves away, it seems closer to you but rises higher and higher. Where are you then? you who have weak eyes and heavy foot, dominate your limitations and fly! fly under his wing … “
Definition by Jacek Strek