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Dossier : Ethnoécologie en Océanie

L’oiseau, cet animal si bavard...

ou l’étrange taxonomie d’un hybride aux îles Kiribati
Anne Di Piazza
p. 55-62


After having qualified the bird in Kiribati as a spokesperson, a hybrid and an archetype of man, we discuss the ability of the bird to carry within itself a part of us; in fact its ability to inspire the society to speak about itself. On Nikunau, the bird is in turn a good fisher[man], navigator, medium, companion, etc. But how can one kill an animal so heavily invested? The bird as victim is inconsistent with their thinking. Birds are consensual, they give themselves to the hunters. But as terns, noddies and brown boobies become ever more rare and with the extirpation of petrels and shearwaters, two cognitive dissonances have appeared which the islanders have attempted to solve through the creation of a ‘land of welcome’ for the birds and through the recognition that birds may sometimes be rebellious. We show that these justifications allow the people to continue to conceive of the birds as consensual, even as they are becoming extinct.

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Bibliographical reference

Anne Di Piazza, « L’oiseau, cet animal si bavard... », Journal de la Société des Océanistes, 120-121 | 2005, 55-62.

Electronic reference

Anne Di Piazza, « L’oiseau, cet animal si bavard... », Journal de la Société des Océanistes [Online], 120-121 | Année 2005, Online since 27 November 2008, connection on 23 October 2019. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/jso.381

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About the author

Anne Di Piazza

CNRS-CREDO, Marseille, 

By this author

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