Kingfisher Tales

The Greek myth of the European Kingfisher has inspired many poets and writers and left deep traces in European culture. It is a story of love and conjugal fidelity in which the Kingfisher (Halcyon) is the metamorphosis of Queen Alcyone. At STIAS research will involve reading and writing about the role of birds (especially Kingfishers) in African cultures. For instance, in The Gambia farmers take the call of the returning Woodland Kingfisher as the herald of the beginning of the wet season. In the Congo Basin Mbuti hunter-gatherers believe that the Pygmy Kingfisher points its red bill to the direction of the elephants. In general, indigenous people all over the world often believe birds to be indicators of the invisible world. This notion is the source of inspiration for work on a new book entitled Halcyon Haze at STIAS.

Project leader(s):
  • Willem Hendrik Gispen (Utrecht)

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