The systematics of the Altay falcon (Falco altaicus/lorenzi) remains enigmatic. First reported in 1811, it has been treated as a gyrfalcon (F. rusticolus), a saker (F. cherrug), and two separate species (F. lorenzi and F. altaicus). Of 53 'altaicus' specimens examined, at least two are misidentified gyrfalcons, many are typical sakers, but 34 (the core group) are considered to be the true Altay falcon type. Adults have red, brown, and gray color morphs. The red (backed) morph closely resembles some eastern sakers; the chocolate and gray morphs resemble respective gyrfalcon morphs. While the true affinities of the Altay falcon will be resolved by molecular genetics, the ecological, geographical, and morphological information suggest that the core group represents a gyrfalcon-saker cross that is being swamped through back crosses with the saker. The breeding range of the core group (i.e., the Altay and Sayan Mountains) is much smaller than previously reported.