Tag: Mbuti hunter-gatherers

Bird stories, Common Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus)

Mbuti boys in the Congo under initiation are prohibited from eating most birds, except some common birds as greenbuls and weavers. These prohibited birds are also regarded as kuweri. By imposing such food restrictions on the initiates, the Mbuti conceptualize circumcision as a social birth of an adult. The birds play another special role in […]

Bird stories, Brown-chested Alethe (Alethe poliocephala)

There is a food taboo for this totemic animal of a particular clan of the Mbuti hunter-gatherers of the Congo. The clan members cannot eat this animal called ngini-so (things prohibited), or ngini-so-su (things prohibited to us), which symbolize their membership of a particular clan. Should one eat such a prohibited animal, his teeth would […]

Bird stories, Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus

The Mbuti tribe believes that if a pregnant woman or her husband eat this bird, a baby with an extraordinary large head may be born to them. The Tembo tribe of the Congo consider the species as a cure. Its feathers and claws are used to cure benign epilepsy. For the medical treatment, feathers and […]

Bird stories, African Dwarf Kingfisher

The birds associated with elephants are a species of hornbill (kohekohe), yellow- spotted barbet (bururu) and amasanginbo (unidentified small birds). It is said that, if men approach an elephant, these birds fly around the elephants, making a noise at the ears to inform the elephants of danger. The dwarf and pygmy kingfishers (manganlako) are also […]

Bird stories, the Great Blue Turaco

There is a food taboo for this totemic animal of a particular clan. The clan members cannot eat this animal called ngini-so (things prohibited), or ngini-so-su (things prohibited to us), which symbolize their membership of a particular clan. Should one eat such a prohibited animal, his teeth would fall out. There are other birds avoided […]