Pigeons of Bukhara, Uzbek Crack Tumblers
It’s funny how sometimes you can take a photograph and not really realise what you’re looking at until sometime later. In this case years later…
This morning I was looking through old photographs trying to choose one for my ‘photo of the week‘ series. I came across some images from an early morning walk around the markets of the Uzbek city of Bukhara. This particular shot caught my eye – an Uzbek ‘pigeon fancier’ inspecting a pigeon before making purchase. I love the concentration on the men’s faces. The men were inspecting the condition of the pigeons, opening their wings and generally giving them a good look over. This wasn’t actually at the market – they were just on the roadside on the way to the market.
The photograph got me thinking – I was with a lad from my hotel who had agreed to get up early that morning and walk me down to the livestock market and I could vaguely recall him saying something about the pigeons. I couldn’t really remember though, so I Google’d it and it turns out that Bukhara is famous for it’s pigeons!
The Uzbek Crack Tumbler
The name ‘Uzbek Crack Tumbler’ apparently comes from the fact that they originate from Uzbekistan (well obviously), but also because of the way they fly.
When flying they sometimes begin to rise up vertically and begin tumbling and clap their wings together making an audible clap or crack sound. They are apparently trained to do these acrobatics. These pigeons are highly valued and were once shown off in organised flight demonstrations.
Each breed is identified by it’s color and physical appearance and each variety has a particular name in the Uzbek language. It looks like, and I’m no expert, that I photographed the buying and selling of
the ‘sochi’ variety judging by the ‘white feathers with black flecks’.
The Uzbek Crack Tumbler breeds originated in the Uzbek city of Bukhara. The Emirs of Bukhara imported several different breeds from Persia and cross bred them with the local breeds. This resulted in a great variety of ‘decorative’ pigeons. For centuries other breeders from across Uzbekistan would acquire these breeds from the Emirs of Bukhara.
Isn’t it amazing what you can get from just one photograph!