Such an incident has come to light after a photo of 80 birds of prey on board an airliner in the Middle East went viral after being posted on Reddit.
Ahmet Yasar, the businessman who posted the image, told the BBC it was taken within the last four weeks by a friend who works as an airline captain.
Mr Yasar said the falcons were flying to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia for what is thought to be a hunting trip.
"The picture was taken on board an Airbus flying from an unknown origin to Saudi Arabia," Mr Yasar told the BBC.
"It is quite common for airlines in the Middle East to transport birds for hunting purposes. In this case each falcon is estimated to be worth about $8,000 (£6,435)," the Turkey-based businessman said.
"The picture I posted has gone viral attracting interest from all over the world," he said. "It is thought the birds were to be used to hunt geese."
Mr Yasar said the airline captain who took the picture did not want to be named.
(Excerpts from BBC News)