From the book

Grey-headed Kingfisher

When I was a kid and my mom took me shopping, she could always drop me in a bookstore. Especially those large academic ones with a large selection of nature books. Nowadays these bookstores are only half as much fun as most of the specialised books are sold through the internet, I think.

But back to the stores from my youth. Especially in Utrecht she could just drop me there and go shopping for clothes and come back an hour later. The book I found most fascinating was the book with all Bee-eaters, Kingfishers and Rollers in the world. What an awesome group with all those nice colours. In the Netherlands we ‘only’ have the Common Kingfisher, but especially in Africa it seemed they tried to outdo each other with brighter colours with every new bird… I’ve browsed through the book many times wondering about all those beautiful coloured birds. I never really thought to buy it though as I never really expect to see any other as the three European species (apart from that Kingfisher the European Bee-eater and the European Roller).

Until today… On the Cape Verdes another species of kingfisher is quite common: the Grey-headed Kingfisher. This one sat down on a branch downtown Praia (Cape Verdes capital) not that far from me. The harsh light was filtered a bit by the leaves and he wasn’t shy at all, allowing me to take quite a few pictures. Watching this stunning bird, I had to think back of my times in the bookstore, looking at pictures of birds like this. I wonder if I’ll find it again in some bookstore, haven’t seen the book in a while…

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.


  • Your reflections are great to read…brings back my own childhood and all the books I wandered through. I guess you are right. If they still exist, they are on the internet shops. how wonderful that you caught this beauty – and he let you…


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