Ildiko Szabo is Collections Curator of the Cowan Tetrapod Collection at the University of British Columbia Beaty Biodiversity Museum, Vancouver She is the co-author of British Columbia Pelagic Marine Copepoda: An Identification Manual and Annotated Bibliography (1982).
Kingfishers vary widely in size, behavior, and color, sporting some of the most spectacular color combinations in the bird world. This probably accounts for their frequent appearances in literature, mythology, and art. Here, particular reference is made to a putative work from Ovid's corpus in which various attributes, real and imagined, of kingfishers are said to have been first identified. Beyond exploitation in art, jewelry, and clothing design, kingfishers have also influenced scientific and intellectual history, figuring prominently in the works of Darwin and Freud, and were traditionally favored by the kings and cultures of the Orient. Bioengineers have learned from the kingfishers' unique visual aspect and the aerodynamics of their characteristic plunge from air into a watery domain. Readers will learn much about bird lore in history and across cultures, featuring kingfishers in particular, from this extensively referenced, copiously illustrated volume. --J. Burger, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick Choice