Falcons are used as diplomatic gifts and signs of goodwill. The practice of exchanging falcons among rulers dates back to ancient time.
In the 14th century, a falcon was used in a diplomatic mission between two rival kingdoms. The King of the Mongols sent a falcon to the King of the Chinese as a symbol of friendship and peace. The falcon was accompanied by a message that read: ‘The falcon is a messenger of peace and goodwill. May it bring to you our friendship and goodwill.’ The falcon was welcomed by the Chinese King and the two kingdoms soon established diplomatic ties. This event is considered to be the first recorded use of falcons in diplomacy.
In the medieval era, European kings and emperors also exchanged falcons as diplomatic gifts. For example, in 1188, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa gave a falcon to the Sultan of Iconium as a gesture of goodwill during the Third Crusade.
In Japan, falconry was introduced in the 16th century, and it became popular among the samurai class. Falcons were often exchanged as gifts between the Japanese and other Asian countries, such as Korea and China. In the Arab world, falcons are highly valued and respected, and they have been used as gifts between leaders and dignitaries. For example, in 2017, the United Arab Emirates presented a falcon to the King of Morocco during a state visit.
In Mongolia, where falconry is a national sport, falcons have been presented as diplomatic gifts to foreign leaders. For instance, in 2019, the Mongolian President presented a golden eagle to the President of Kazakhstan during a state visit.